The Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis’ employees work to weave together opportunities to strengthen the Indianapolis Jewish community and working together is important to succeeding in the organization’s mission.
The opportunities are developed to engage the community in a variety of ways, connecting people to each other and the community, which leads to deeper involvement. Data show that by being involved, community members are more likely to contribute to each year’s annual campaign and the other development efforts that are the bedrock for our community.
WE ASSIST THE COMMUNITY TO ENGAGE, VOLUNTEER, LEAD AND GIVE.
By design, the departments at the Jewish Federation support each other, partnering together to give community members diverse opportunities to develop direct and impactful connections with the local and international Jewish community. Here’s a brief snapshot into how the Federation departments interconnect.
Annual Campaign and Development
The Federation’s Development (Annual Campaign) Department functions as a primary fundraising mechanism for the broader organization and for the community’s Annual Campaign. The community’s Annual Campaign provides the basic infrastructure that supports our Jewish community. It delivers vital funding to sustain the Federation and our partners, and it ensures critical programs and services are available—especially when they are needed most. The team builds strong, generations-long relationships with donors and their families and works to ensure that donors and community members can participate in and feel represented by the Federation’s important work here at home, in Israel, and around the world. They seek to serve donors and their interests to provide for the needs of the organization and the community, largely by collaborating with and supporting the other departments of the Federation, as well as its partner agencies. This interconnectedness with both the community and the rest of the organization is critical to success.
Charles A. Cohen Planned Giving & Endowment
This department is imperative to Federation like the Annual Campaign and Development Team. They steward the financial resources of the community’s generous donors by serving as their trusted philanthropic partner. They build trust by communicating the impact of their financial support through programs and services, both within the Federation and through partner agencies.
Women’s Philanthropy is a network of compassionate and committed volunteers who inspire and empower each other to be change makers and community shapers. Their work through interdepartmental relationships allows them to provide support for Jewish life for today and for future generations in Indianapolis, Israel and throughout the world through educational and engagement opportunities, fundraising, and leadership development.
Youth Philanthropy & Connection
Federation youth and teen programming, including the Lou and Sybil Mervis YoPhI Teen Board, connect young Jews in the community with each other, opportunities to give back, and with the mission of our agencies to build, care, and serve. The programs intentionally create gathering spaces for individuals from across the community who might not meet otherwise and brings them into relationship with the mission of the Federation. By training a new generation of philanthropists and changemakers through opportunities to make an impact NOW, the program not only enhances the impact Federation’s philanthropic efforts make in the short term but brings in another generation in shaping the community’s giving and service priorities.
Maurer Jewish Community Library
The Maurer Jewish Community library is part of the Indianapolis Public Library system. This relationship allows people from across the area to access the unique materials that are held in our building. What has been so exciting is that the library is also providing opportunities for volunteers who are looking for opportunities to give back to the Jewish community with their time.
The Prystowsky ATID leadership development program has been the centerpiece for leadership development for over ten years. Over 60 community members have learned, travelled, and volunteered together. Being introduced to the Indianapolis Jewish community and our work in Israel has allowed them to seriously consider their roles in the community. There are ATID alums involved with almost every Jewish organization in Indianapolis.
The PJ Library organization seeks to engage families with young children by sending free, award-winning books that celebrate Jewish values and culture. But it does not stop with the books. Local programming, planned by professionals and volunteers, allows families to meet new people and explore the community. PJ Library families are encouraged to participate in local philanthropic efforts. And we are grateful for the philanthropic support of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and the Alan and Linda Cohen Family Foundation for their generosity that supports these efforts.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis’ NEXTGen is an initiative geared towards Jews, affiliated or unaffiliated, in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. NEXTGen provides meaningful programming and leadership opportunities based in Jewish values to deepen engagement in communal Jewish life. Participants in NextGen collaborate with other departments on a variety of efforts, such as Adopt-A-Family and Super Sunday.
Jewish Family Services
Jewish Family Services (JFS) provides essential support for a wide and diverse cross section of community members. The work they do is very visible and is often an entry point to the Jewish Federation for those who then continue to further engage through other programs and services offered. They collaborate with all departments and Federation agencies to serve those seeking support and to engage with hundreds of donors and volunteers each year through programs like Adopt-a-Family, Passover Food Drive, BackPack attack and Popsie’s Food Pantry. JFS is often highlighted in fundraising campaigns for the Federation’s Annual Campaign and other fundraising initiatives due to the importance and impact of the services and programs that are offered. Programs include one on one support with clients, mental health services, financial assistance programs, Older Adult services, Popsie’s Food Pantry, KAVOD services for holocaust survivors, bereavement and employment support
Israel and Overseas
The Israel and Overseas Department is committed to the welfare of Jewish people worldwide. Even before the modern State of Israel was born, the Jewish community of Indianapolis worked diligently to raise and allocate funds to rescue and assist Jews seeking refuge from lands across the globe. The department works with overseas partner agencies to understand the needs of and provide relief for the worldwide Jewish family and works with other departments to raise funds for these needs and works to engage more people in Federation programs and initiatives locally, nationally and internationally.
The Safe Indy Security Initiative works to ensure that the entire greater Indianapolis Jewish community feels safe. In order for the community to engage and have meaningful Jewish experiences, which leads to deeper connection and purpose and philanthropic giving, they must feel safe. This program works with all departments, agencies, synagogues, Jewish organizations, and local law enforcement to provide assessments, trainings, and assess potential threats for the safety of the Jewish population.
The Operations team provides support across the organization and Jewish Community Campus, touching almost everything done on the campus. From managing RFPs for new technology, to assisting with logistics planning for major events, to managing campus and Covid protocols, the Operations team assists professional staff and volunteers who deliver out the organization’s mission daily.
The Finance team works with all departments to gather data and allocate funding and prepares financial reports to help provide transparency of financial resources used for the community. Our goal is to build trust with community members that funds are being used responsibly.
The Marketing team works with all departments to craft communications plans and promotional materials, so the work of the Federation and its agencies is visible to the community at-large. This helps show impact of how the Federation serves the community, helps solicits donations to the Annual Campaign and gains exposure to programs and events for engagement opportunities.
Even with the hard work of the Federation professionals, the work can’t be done without the crucial support of volunteers and donors. Everyone engaged through the Federation has a different path and that path is never linear. In 2022, the Federation’s goal is to continue to strengthen connections between departments and showcase examples from members of the community and their path through their philanthropic efforts.