Combined Jewish Appeal reaches out to new donors

Photo: Ross Taylor / UJC

Photo: Ross Taylor / UJC

Every gift makes a difference. The impact is real. It is tangible. And it changes lives for the better in Montreal, in Israel and in communities around the world.

This year’s Campaign is making a particular effort to reach out to members of Montreal’s Jewish community who have not previously donated. The New Gifts Committee, co-chaired by Ross Paperman and Neil Uditsky, is sending out the message that participation is what ensures the community’s continued vitality. The goal is to reach out to 1,000 new donors in 2010.

Co-Chairs of the New Gifts Committee, Ross Paperman and Neil Uditsky.

Why was a new gifts committee created?

ROSS PAPERMAN: There are approximately 90,000 people in our community, of whom more than 17,000 contribute to Combined Jewish Appeal. There is great potential, among those who have yet to get involved, for us to grow the Campaign. We believe that many more people would give if we could explain the importance of Federation CJA to them.

NEIL UDITSKY: It’s hard to believe, after 93 years, but many Jews don’t even know what Federation is. They don’t know everything that their dollars to Combined Jewish Appeal do to help people in need. Many don’t even know that there are such extensive needs in the community.

Why is it so important for Combined Jewish Appeal to attract new donors this year?

ROSS: Look at all the people who depend on our Campaign: the poor, seniors, new immigrants, children needing Jewish education and camping experiences, Israel, vulnerable Jewish populations around the world. How can we keep doing all of the things we do unless more people join our efforts?

NEIL: The perception among people who might only be able to give modestly is that there are wealthy individuals who take care of things. The reality is that we need everyone to give what they can so that we can grow the Campaign and continue to meet the growing needs that we face as a community.

What are the greatest challenges when it comes to soliciting new gifts?

NEIL: Education. When people appreciate that one in five Jews live in poverty, or that more than 4,000 children depend on tuition assistance to attend Jewish schools, or that we provide subsidies for 80% of the kids at Camp B’nai Brith, or that 6,500 seniors live in poverty, they will be moved to give. Because, as a community, we really do believe that we are responsible for one another.

What are the implications if more people do not contribute to the Campaign?

ROSS: The status quo is not sufficient to ensure the long-term sustainability of the services we provide. It’s particularly important that we replenish our existing donor base by bringing in a new generation. We have to show young people the importance of what we do and inspire them to join us. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t in a position to give much. What matters greatly is that they assume the responsibility to step forward and give what they can.