For the past several years, we have made a concerted effort to get together with agency presidents and executive directors at least twice a year. Thanks to these meetings, agency leaders meet one another and learn about other agencies. New agency executive directors are also introduced, as was the case this past Tuesday, as both the Roth Family and Rosen JCCs have new professional leaders.
The meetings also give us a chance to share news, accomplishments, ideas, concerns and issues. Most importantly, it's an opportunity to get out of our "silos" and together look at a broader community picture.
Several themes emerged from Tuesday night's discussion:
1. Agencies reported on strategic changes they are making in response to the changing philanthropic environment, demographic changes and evolving community needs. It is clear that we cannot rely on outdated concepts and practices, and if we want to stay relevant to the Jewish community, we must evolve together with it.
2. The recent bomb threats have put a tremendous financial stress on some of our institutions, who are responding to them by regrouping, refocusing and redeploying resources. And as always, true to its mission, Federation is here to help.
3. Changes in professional leadership can be very positive. They give agencies an opportunity to reboot and refresh. I am glad to see that new senior professionals at our agencies are not encumbered by negative baggage and are interested in moving beyond old patterns and working together.
4. New agency lay leaders are energized, inspired and eager to work together for the betterment of the Jewish community.
5. It was gratifying to learn that Federation's collaborative grants have made a noticeable impact on the quality of Jewish life in Orlando. As I mentioned previously, we are going to have a new round of community collaborative grants this spring.
I left Tuesday's discussion confident that the Jewish community is poised for some new and good things to happen in Orlando. One of the best ideas generated at the meeting was a community-wide celebration of Israel's 70th anniversary next spring with the participation of synagogues, agencies and organizations. I think this is a very promising idea and look forward to working on implementing it.
It is Federation's mission to "nurture a unified Jewish community that transcends generations and neighborhoods." Convening agency leadership is one of the many ways Federation accomplishes its mission, and we can do it thanks to your support of our annual campaign. If you haven't made your 2017 contribution yet, now is a great time to open the door to new possibilities, to help bring dreams to reality and to ensure a bright Jewish future for our children and grandchildren.
I thank you for your support and wish you Chag Pesach Kasher V'sameach, a good and happy Passover.