It is an incredible honor to be taking the helm of the Jewish Foundation as we continue to evolve as a "trusted, high impact investor" in our community. I am privileged to serve with an incredible group of Trustees whose talent, passion and commitment will no doubt make a positive impact on the future of the Jewish People and our shared community in the years ahead.
At the Foundation’s 2014 Annual Meeting, we paid tribute to the foresight, persistence and dedication of our Original Trustees, and we thanked Mike Oestreicher for his extraordinary service as the first President of the Foundation’s new era. Because of the visionary work of the founding Trustees 18 years ago, the Jewish Foundation is able to invest the kind of resources necessary for a community of excellence. And thanks to Mike’s strategic and principled leadership, the Foundation has established itself as more than just a funder with deep pockets, but rather as a partner who listens to others and challenges them to stay focused and disciplined, while enabling them to dream and imagine.
Videos from our Annual Meeting can be viewed by clicking here. We hope that what comes through is a celebration of the community tapestry that is emerging as a result of the many interwoven investments that we – with the help of incredible partners – are making. Several of the videos feature individuals who benefited from these new initiatives, and those individuals are representative of the return we seek on the community’s investments. We will do our best to keep our website updated with these stories as often as possible.
Going forward, we at the Jewish Foundation will be focusing the next several years on "Capacity Building Plus" – that is, ensuring that the organizations in our community have the talent and resources necessary to provide meaningful Jewish experiences for people in every age group in our community. This will include investing in new initiatives intended to "move the needles" in several key areas, including:
- Senior Services – strategically mapping out and adding to a continuum of services that will make Cincinnati a truly great Jewish community in which to grow older;
- Teen Education and Engagement – harnessing the talents and resources of the congregations, Mayerson JCC, HUC-JIR and other partners to provide the best possible Jewish experiences for our teens;
- Volunteer and Professional Leadership Development – building on the early success of the Wexner Heritage Program to identify, inspire and train the next generation of dedicated Jewish leaders for our community’s institutions.
In addition to working on these new projects, we will also focus on assessing the impact of our existing investments, making course corrections where necessary, and partnering with others to develop sustainability plans for the most successful among them. We have been gratified by the enduring commitment of so many generous individuals who have increased their financial participation in our community during the past few years, and we should all feel fortunate to live in a community of “owners", that is, with people who share in the responsibility of its growth and development.
I have personally been very inspired during my volunteer career to explore the deep meaning that comes from connection to the Jewish community – specifically the bonds we share with one another through Torah, tradition, ethics and shared values. It is with that in mind that I re-commit, on behalf of our Trustees and professional staff, that we will be faithful stewards of the Cincinnati Jewish Community’s precious resources. We pledge to continue the path forged by our original and current Trustees to join with partners to accomplish strategic objectives for the benefit of our entire community.
As always, we welcome your feedback and input as we continue this work, and I look forward to seeing you in the community that we all love, and about which we care so much.