- So many of our volunteers who are women are in senior roles this year. What can you tell us about the importance of women leaders?
While I think it’s wonderful to have so many women in decision-making roles on the Jewish Federation Board – I believe it’s really about the best person for the position at the time. It is encouraging for us to be witnessing this shift. This is not the case in all industries yet, but it is nice to see more equitable opportunities for both men and women.
- You were on the Community Recovery Task force. What were some of the biggest insights that you gained from that experience? What surprised you most?
Technology was a big issue and who knew our professionals would need to become experts on HVAC systems! Many agencies and organizations, especially the smaller ones did not have a safety net or reserve funds, which made it much more difficult for them to pivot. They were operating with the smallest margins, without the resources and professional staff of some of the larger agencies.
We cannot emphasize enough how the $2M raised in the Community Recovery Fund assisted all our agencies and community organizations two-fold and it is important to thank all our donors that ensured that this happened. We know we are not completely out of the woods yet and are aware there will be an impact from increased anxiety, mental health issues, and isolation that has effected so many individuals.
- You have seen the impact of Jewish Federation’s work all over the world. Was there a moment that really stood out for you when you saw the impact of our work?
Travelling to the Former Soviet Union specifically Khabarovsk and Birobidzhan, was extremely impactful. We had the opportunity to meet and understand their communities and see firsthand where our funds are being utilized.
It is important to understand that in the FSU there are no safety nets or government programs for the most vulnerable. Many seniors do not have food or funds to pay their bills, like electricity for heat in the winter. Our funds are providing parents and children with special needs with basic necessities because there is no disability benefit or government assistance.
It’s truly the basic necessities that we’re providing; food, clothing and shelter. On the brighter side, the young adults are truly committed to community and are engaged in improving the situation.