I remember being surprised when I learned that we are supposed to plant most trees in the late fall and early winter. Springtime seems more logical and pleasant because we can then watch the dormant tree flourish with the new season. But, by planting as the ground cools, saplings can develop a good root system before the freeze. This leads to a stronger foundation and better foliage when the weather turns again.
Federated giving works much the same way. It’s easy for me to imagine that many people wonder why they should participate in a community campaign just as it is wrapping up for the year. After all, the budget was set long ago, programming is coming to a year-end climax, and we are distracted by so many other opportunities and needs.
I encourage you to consider giving to the Annual Campaign in the very same light as you might consider planting a tree. Our Campaign runs a year ahead of the allocations year, meaning that funds raised in 2023 are used in 2024. This informs us of what is available to invest in the community for the coming year. Just like a tree’s roots, we enter each new year on a firm financial foundation so that, barring any unforeseen elements, we will be able to flourish in the year ahead.
Please indulge me as I continue with this analogy to say that over the past year, with the leadership of our Campaign Chairs and Campaign Cabinet, we have spent a lot of time tending our soil to encourage growth. We have redeveloped and implemented giving levels and a case for giving. With the help of our most experienced leaders, we have begun recruiting and training new Campaign volunteers. We are intentionally trying to infuse new energy and enthusiasm into our programs and activities. I am pleased that each of these initiatives has been well received, the roots are taking hold, and new buds are forming.
Recently, we introduced another exciting new element into our system. Rebecca Schalit-Newman has joined our professional team as Chief Development Officer. Rebecca has many years of experience tending to Women’s Philanthropy and Donor Experience at the Los Angeles Federation and most recently served as the Director of Development at Camp GUCI. I know that our community will continue to bloom under her steady, experienced hand.
Our roots in Indianapolis run very deep, and our Jewish community branches reach out both high and wide. There is room for everyone and a number of ways for you to participate. Whether you are content to lie in the shade or prefer to explore different limbs, you are welcome. But please remember that our community, like a tree, is a living entity. It needs to be nourished and cared for in order to thrive. I hope you will consider making your increased and continuing gift to our Annual Campaign now, when it matters most.