Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee 2022 Annual Meeting
First, I want to thank Andy May, for serving as President this past year and for all that he has done on behalf of the Federation through the years. I am grateful to lead a talented and dedicated team of Federation professionals, whose names are listed on The Federation’s website. It has been a long 2 years of the pandemic with countless zoom meetings and programs. We seem to have moved into the endemic phase, and it was wonderful to gather in person for this year’s Annual Meeting. Just in the past month, there have been several large in-person community events, and it was good to be able to be together again.
In looking back when I first arrived in this community four years ago, I articulated a vision for Jewish Nashville. Let me take this opportunity to share how much we have accomplished and how much more we still need to accomplish. First, we placed an even greater emphasis on Outreach and Engagement to nurture and grow relationships with our greatest asset – the human resources who make up our community. We also extended our big tent to embrace three classically underserved populations within our Jewish community: Interfaith couples and families, LGBTQ+ individuals and families, and people with Differing Abilities. Now, more than ever, our Federation is engaged and involved meaningfully in all three regards.
We also expanded our geographic reach within the Jewish community, and we connected with Newcomers, native Nashvillians, and everyone in between. We have done so through multiple partnerships involving our agencies, congregations, and Jewish community organizations.
To accomplish all these goals, we needed to generate new forms of revenue through Total Financial Resource Development. Just in the past year, we exceeded our Annual Campaign goal, and we raised another $200,000 in supplemental gifts on top of that. Together, this amounts to more than $2.6 million in fundraising to meet the annual needs. As a result, we were able to provide more than $2 million in Grants and:
· Open a Moishe House in East Nashville
· Resettle Afghan Allies locally
· Provide expanded Innovation Grants, and
· Rescue and care for Ukrainian refugees fleeing from the Russian invasion.
In addition, we raised $2.8 million in contributions for our Jewish Foundation, and we became custodians of another $3.1 million in funds to invest in our Foundation on behalf of a local Jewish institution. We did all of this with an efficient operation, allowing our Federation to distribute Grants equal to 86% of the dollars raised in our Annual Campaign. That means our cost of operating overhead is equal to only 14% of the dollars raised in our Annual Campaign.
Meanwhile, there has been a dangerous resurgence of anti-Semitism coming from both sides of the ideological spectrum. We are combatting this through coalition-building with allies from the media, business, academia, and government. Through these partnerships, our Federation reached more than 3,500 Tennesseans who we educated about antisemitism through the virtual event, “Shine a Light on Antisemitism – No Place for Hate in our State.” This emphasis on combatting antisemitism is an ongoing and enduring role which we take very seriously.
Our Federation also has taken the lead on local Jewish community security, which is a top priority. We coordinate with Metro Nashville Police, the TN Department of Homeland Security, the TN Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, and the Hate Crimes Division of the Federal Justice Department.
Our Federation led a coalition of the four Jewish Federations in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville to lobby our TN State government. This resulted in the approval of our two state-wide funding requests. The first is $500,000 in supplemental funding through the TN Department of Homeland Security for houses of worship facing credible threats. The other is $175,000 in supplemental funding through the TN Holocaust Commission for antisemitism education.
As we strengthen our ability to fight antisemitism, focus on community security, and support for Israel, we do so through the big tent approach. Our Federation welcomes people with diverse opinions, and we encourage people to participate in our programs and to suggest topics and speakers. Simply put, we are at our best when community members, who are passionate about Jewish concerns from various perspectives, engage in meaningful dialogue together, shaping the content which we provide for educational purposes.
I thank the outgoing Officers and Board members, and I look forward to working with the incoming Officers and Board members to strengthen our Federation on behalf of the Nashville and Middle Tennessee Jewish community.