Shabbat Message from Ezra S. Shanken

Board Chair and CEO Report

Shabbat Message from CEO Ezra S. Shanken


June 30, 2023 | 11 Tammuz 5783



This message has about 650 words and will take about 2.5 minute to read.

The AGM serves as a moment of introspection, allowing us to look back on the past year's achievements. This year's gathering on Tuesday evening, held a special significance as we celebrated Shelley Rivkin and all of her outstanding contributions to our community.


This week we would like to share with you the Board Chair and CEO Report that will appear in our upcoming 2022-2023 Annual Report:


As the central organization of the Jewish community, we take seriously our responsibility to plan for our collective future, to convene partner organizations and facilitate collaborations, and to generate the necessary financial resources to move our community forward.


Our unique vantage point enables us to see the big picture. We bring partners, leaders and experts together to collaborate, to inspire innovation, and to accomplish more together than any of us could on our own.


Our impact resonates farther afield than what the “Greater Vancouver” in our name might suggest.


From the Sea-to-Sky to Langley, and all points in between, Jewish community life is thriving—and we are proud to be at the centre of it through our Connect Me In program. On Vancouver Island and in Kelowna we are now providing security training for volunteers and professionals in their growing Jewish communities.


As part of her role on the Jewish Agency's Board of Governors, Candace traveled to Ethiopia and accompanied some of the 3,000 Jews who were making Aliyah. Together, we traveled to Mexico City with the Jewish Agency to see more of their international work, and from Ukraine to Turkey and Syria and beyond, we helped those in need when disaster struck.


We continued to improve the quality of life for residents of our partnership region in Northern Israel.


Our work is focused on strengthening the region’s development and regionalism through leadership development and capacity building while investing in academic excellence. Our long-term investments are helping residents tackle some of the most difficult and complex challenges they face living in Israel’s periphery. 


The political situation in Israel has proven challenging for many in our local community who care deeply about the country. We and our partners have offered multiple events over many months to help people learn more about what is happening and to facilitate discussions.


Here at home, inflation continued to take a toll on our partners and the people they serve. 


Across the board, our partners report that inflationary pressures are affecting every part of their work. Ninety-one percent are concerned or very concerned that inflation will affect community members’ ability to fully participate in Jewish life. And 100% of our social service partners are concerned or very concerned that inflation will affect their ability to support their clients’ needs.


For five years, we have been bringing community together around issues of affordability.


Together with key partners, we co-hosted an Affordability Summit on the experiences of children and youth in low-income homes. The three areas of focus identified by our Planning Council are advocacy for a national breakfast program, creation of a single application point for assistance from multiple organizations, and development of more inclusive, respectful processes.


This year, we made strides in combatting antisemitism.


We were proud to see Vancouver City Council and Richmond City Council adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism and the province of BC commit to using it as a tool to identify and combat hatred. Identifying antisemitism is the first step in combatting it, which makes these milestones important for all of us, and we want to thank our partners and our advocacy agent, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, for their work on this.


We also looked internally this year, with an eye to the future.


Our senior professional team began work on an organizational design initiative intended to build significant capacity within the Federation over the next several years with greater potential for scalability, efficiency, excellence and agility going forward.


Our unparalleled impact is possible thanks to the strength of our partnerships and the cherished trust of our donors.


Collective giving is deeply rooted in our tradition, and we play a leadership role in raising the funds our community needs to grow from strength to strength. We invest strategically in initiatives that keep our community strong today, tomorrow, and for years to come—as well as in times of crisis. Our partners depend on us to generate the support they need to deliver the vital programs and services on which thousands of people rely.


During the 2022 Federation Annual Campaign period we generated an unprecedented $13.17 million for our community: $10.24 million directly through the Annual Campaign and $2.91 million in Additional Support including special project funding, community relief, and emergency relief.


The Jewish Community Foundation’s contributions this year surpassed $12.7 million — a record for our organization.


This is more than double the contributions received in the previous fiscal year, which itself exceeded the contributions of the year before that. The Foundation strategically disbursed a total of $3.7 million into local, national, and worldwide causes, including funding for the Foundation’s Unrestricted Grant Program, which allows response to critical emerging needs in the community.


JWest also achieved unprecedented milestones. 


As one of the three lead organizations working together to bring JWest to life, we are excited at the progress made this year. From announcing the capital campaign cabinet to securing $75 million in funding and philanthropic gifts to a $36 million matching gift, this project has gained tremendous momentum.


While this Annual Report naturally reflects back on the year, we and our partners continue to look ahead to new opportunities that will help propel our community to new strengths and successes that benefit everyone in it.




Candace Kwinter
Board Chair

Ezra S. Shanken
Chief Executive Officer

Shabbat Shalom,


Ezra S. Shanken

CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver


P.S. Mazel Tov to Jewish Federation past board chair and JWest capital campaign chair, Alex Cristall and Jodi Cristall's son Andrew on being drafted by the Washington Capitals this week. Your community is so proud!

Board Chair Lana Marks Pulver and Immediate Past Chair Candace Kwinter

Shelley Rivkin, Candace Kwinter and Ezra S. Shanken