Minneapolis Jewish Federation, Community Kicks Off $40M Campaign

The toll that COVID-19 has taken on the synagogues and other Minneapolis Jewish agencies has been significant. Even as the Sabes JCC starts to reopen no one is really sure when the full range of services of any organization will resume.

With that in mind, the Minneapolis Jewish Federation along with 21 different Minneapolis and bi-cities agencies, schools, synagogues, and organizations, is launching Kadima: Building Our Future. The nearly $40 million effort will be split between relief from lost revenue from COVID-19 ($27.5 million), and increased community security ($12 million). Jewfolk, Inc., TC Jewfolk’s parent organization, is one of the agencies involved in the effort.

“This is meant to continue the work that started with Federation’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief grants to make sure organizations stay whole and make up lost revenue,” said Jim Cohen, Minneapolis Jewish Federation’s CEO. “But it will also pay for additional programming or needs that are a result of COVID; adding more counselors, more vocational training, more IT needs.”

Cohen said this is an opportunity to make the community more efficient and collaborative.

“Having all these organizations at the table, if more investments need to be made to make the community more collaborative, now is the time,” he said. “We’re making lemonade out of lemons.”

The Community Recovery Planning Committee, a community “think tank” comprised of board and staff representatives from each participating organization is where the planning is underway. This Committee is currently surveying the community to identify the need and establish principles and formulas to use for allocating funds.

The Planning Committee is independent of any organization but relies on the collaboration and commitment of all Kadima partner organizations.

Sabes JCC CEO Michael Waldman said that this is exactly the type of effort that a Federation should be leading.

“This feels the more responsible way to fundraise,” he said, rather than every organization asking the same people individually. “Federation should be the convener of this campaign. This is the reason Federations exist. For people who think that Federation is irrelevant or obsolete, that’s great when you’re not in a crisis. But in reacting to a crisis like this, I hope it opens a lot of eyes and minds for why a community needs a strong Federation.”

Cohen said the object of the campaign is for the organizations involved to run COVID-related giving through the initiative.

“We’re corralling all of the development people at the organizations involved to have a coordinated strategy and making sure the right people solicit the right people,” he said. A special website and tool kit have been created for the campaign, which is taking place in addition to the normal annual fundraising cycle.

“All regular fundraising has to happen to keep us from falling into a deeper hole,” Cohen said. “All the organizations are encouraged to continue the campaigns.”

All of the $12 million raised for community security will go to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas for that organization to use to implement its community security plan. Part of this is to endow the position of community security director, which is held by Dan Plekkenpol, but will also help efforts of addressing social consciousness and building relationships across communities, executive director Steve Hunegs said.

“The conception of a community campaign is hugely inspirational; it’s the promise of Federation’s efforts fulfilled,” said Hunegs. “When we work together as a community, we can address, fund, and live the needs and outcomes for our — and the greater — community.”

This article is part of TC Jewfolk’s Partnership program. For more information, check out our media kit.