Message from the Board Chair and CEO


As our community grows, Jewish Federation is becoming increasingly sophisticated — both in planning for our community’s future, and in generating the funds to meet community needs today, tomorrow and for years to come.


This year, we continued to deliver on our 2020 Strategic Priorities. These priorities were developed after undertaking a broad consultative process and represent high-priority community needs. We are very proud to report on the organization’s many achievements this year.


Our work begins with our collaborative community planning process, which is guided by our 2020 Strategic Priorities.


As the affordability of Jewish community life continues to challenge both individuals and our community as a whole, Jewish Federation is responding in new ways. The Affordability Summit that we presented with several of our partners in 2017 led to the creation of the Jewish Food Security Task Force, which released its report and recommendations at the end of 2018.


The task force was a joint initiative of Jewish Federation and Jewish Family Services, and was the first such joint undertaking. Under the leadership of co-chairs Stan Shaw and Renée Katz, the task force addressed immediate and longer-term issues that affect the growing number of Jewish community members who are food insecure. We have already begun implementing some of the task force’s recommendations.


The demographic composition of our community is shifting, and our Planning Council, in collaboration with the Jewish Community Centre, Jewish Family Services, Jewish Seniors Alliance, L’Chaim, Kehila Society of Richmond, and Louis Brier Home and Hospital, sponsored Changing Landscapes: Pathways Ahead. This forum, which focused on the needs of community members 55 years and older, explored key areas where we as a community can make a difference. The local population of seniors is expected to double by 2030, and the forum laid the groundwork for the important planning work ahead.


As our community continues to spread out across the South Coast, our Connect Me In initiative, which was born from the work of our Regional Communities Task Force, is now programming regularly from Langley to Squamish and all points in between. The initiative has evolved such that we are now connecting other Vancouver-based Jewish organizations to these emerging Jewish communities. This past year, both the Jewish Film Centre and Jewish Family Services began offering programs in Port Moody, Maple Ridge and Langley.


We built on the work we did last year with Prizmah, the North American day school organization, to determine how we could strengthen the financial sustainability of local day schools. In response to Prizmah’s report, our Board approved a new volunteer-led committee: the Jewish Day Schools Council. Under the leadership of its chair, Hodie Kahn, the council will address existing and emergent needs faced by individual day schools in the areas of enrolment and financial stability, and will oversee the development and implementation of strategies to address these needs.


In Israel, we have expanded the impact of the Beit Vancouver youth centre beyond its four walls. Beit Vancouver, which is considered the crown jewel of our investment in our partnership region of the Upper Galilee Panhandle, is now reaching at-risk youth right where they live. By working with Better Together in a unique partnership, Beit Vancouver has established hubs in all four of Kiryat Shmona’s neighbourhoods.


One of our strategies in our partnership region is to build capacity by cultivating up-and-coming leaders. Through the Galil-Up program a cohort of talented and passionate residents is being prepared to assume volunteer leadership and professional roles in local and regional communities in the Upper Galilee. They have already created five regional projects that are being implemented to enhance collaboration between the different municipalities in the region.


In order to bring to life the strategically aligned and impactful programs that we and our partners implement to address community needs, Jewish Federation is generating more financial resources than ever before. What you will notice in this report is that we are raising them differently.


The total funds raised this year was an incredible $14.2 million to address needs locally, in our partnership region in Israel, and in Jewish communities in need around the world. This total includes funds generated through the Federation Annual Campaign, contributions to endowments at the Jewish Community Foundation, and special project funding. And when tragedy struck in Pittsburgh, we and our donors were there to help, as we were for communities hit hard by wildfires in British Columbia and California.


As a result of working closely with our donors and our partner agencies, there has been significant growth in special project funding to support high-priority community needs that are aligned with our 2020 Strategic Priorities. The Jewish Community Foundation continues to be in a growth phase, managing assets of $65 million, and having secured $4.1 million in contributions. The 2018 Federation Annual Campaign continued to grow in both its importance and in terms of funds raised.


This growth parallels the growth in our relationships with our donors and fund holders. Based on our broad knowledge and expertise, our strategic approach, and the strength of our relationships, many donors now trust us with all of their Jewish community philanthropy.


We would like to thank the thousands of donors, fund holders, and volunteers who place their trust in us, and whose commitment to tzedakah and to community make our work and the work of our partners possible.


Karen James
Board Chair
  Ezra S. Shaken
Chief Executive Officer