Greetings from the Federation 2022 Annual Campaign!
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Leslie Kirby Chair of this year’s Campaign.
Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, I came to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt as an undergraduate, and I’ve been here ever since. I received my Ph.D. in Psychology from Vanderbilt and spent 18 years on the faculty there. During COVID I decided to move on from that role and founded an independent research institute. I met my husband at Vanderbilt, and he’s also a professor there. We have two children, both now in college, so we are newly empty nesting.
We are members at Congregation Micah, where I taught religious school for several years. I’ve been on the Boards of both Micah Children’s Academy and the Congregation. I came to the Federation through the Jewish Community Relations Committee (JCRC) and just finished up a three-year term as Chair, and I continue to remain actively engaged. I am now Vice-President of the Federation and also Chair of our Task Force on Israel and Domestic Antisemitism.
Following the past 18 months of the COVID19 pandemic, this year’s campaign is going to look a little different than in previous years. First, we’ve pushed the calendar back, allowing us to resume some in-person events with waning COVID-19 rates. That will allow us to map the campaign better onto the calendar year and schedule events at times that have a lower risk of bad weather. There are two key examples of the ways the campaign is evolving. First, Girls’ Night Out is transitioning into a Women’s Jewish Philanthropy event that will take place at Wellspire (with both in person and virtual options to attend) on Sunday, December 12th with guest Tracy Walder, author of The Unexpected Spy. Second, Tzedakah Tzunday will also transition into a Community Day on April 3rd, with options for community service and family activities in addition to making calls about the campaign. So, you will still hear from us, just slightly later than usual!
Another significant change is that we’ve lifted the restrictions on agency and congregational fundraising during the month of February. We felt that times have changed and this “embargo month” is no longer necessary to the Federation’s campaign activities. It offers our agencies and congregations more flexibility in their internal programming and allows us to schedule campaign activities in a more practical way and to encourage greater community participation. Feedback from the agencies and congregations has been extremely positive.
To date, the 2022 Campaign Cabinet has met and set the agenda for this year’s campaign. We’ve held an in-person outdoor reception for major donors and have recruited and trained solicitors for the Campaign. By the time you read this, we will have run an expanded Giving Tuesday effort, tying into the nationwide social media campaigns to make donations to nonprofits on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
I’m excited to take on the challenge of chairing the Federation 2022 Annual Campaign, and extremely grateful for the advice I’ve gotten so far. I look forward to engaging with our community and thank you in advance for supporting the 2022 Campaign.
Picture: 2022 Campaign Chair Leslie Kirby, second from right, pictured with her daughter, Samara Kirith, husband, Craig Smith, and son, Eli Kirith.