What It All Means

In this final installment of Federation Allocations 101, we’ll address many of the questions and feedback we’ve received from this series of articles.

The goal of this series is transparency. You, as members of the community and donors, have the right to understand exactly how your philanthropic dollars are being allocated. Numbers can tell all kinds of different stories, so you deserve to see how it all fits together.

In the overview article, we stated that approximately 55 percent of our dollars are allocated locally and 45 percent are allocated overseas. Federation CEO Dov Ben-Shimon has explained that our allocable dollars are divided up approximately one third to Israel and Overseas, one third to Local Agencies, and one third for Federation’s programs in the community. And as we dig deeper into our allocations process we refer to impact areas based on Federation’s Mission Driven Criteria where 25 percent of our allocations are helping to create a vibrant community locally and overseas, 13 percent support programs that encourage caring and inclusion locally and overseas, 11 percent creates connections to Israel, etc.

So, which is the right way to talk about our allocations? Actually, they all are.

Federation raised over $20 million in unrestricted funds last year through our UJA Annual Campaign. After accounting for uncollected pledges, we allocated UJA funds based on approximately $19.5 million for 2017-18. In addition, through our Jewish Community Foundation and designated funds, we raised an additional $33 million for community needs, here, in Israel, and around the world. This series of articles focuses on the support of our agencies and programs, but that only accounts for about $9.3 million. Where do the remaining dollars go?

Federation’s Unified Allocations Council (UAC), a dedicated group of lay leaders, oversees the allocations of every dollar we raise through our Annual Campaign. The UAC makes a recommendation to Federation’s Board of Trustees which ultimately approves each of the allocations.

Each year we allocate approximately $950,000 to reserves, enabling Federation to respond quickly and efficiently to our agencies' and community's needs in emergency situations. In September, Federation’s Board of Trustees approved $36,000 to aid victims of hurricanes. Another reason we’re able to respond so quickly in emergency situations is because we’re a member of a large national network of Jewish Federations. We support local associations like the New Jersey State Association of Federations to advocate for communal needs in Trenton and Washington, advocating for issues like Medicare, Medicaid, and disabilities services; to fight BDS and anti-Semitism; and to foster good relations with our elected officials. Being a part of these important organizations costs approximately $1.4 million annually in dues.

And then, of course, there’s the work we do to ensure that our Annual Campaign remains strong so we can continue to support our agencies and programs. That means developing and retaining outstanding professional talent as well as outreach and engagement to the next generation of community leaders and donors. It also means developing stronger relationships with the 90+ synagogues in our community to help them build capacity. It means designing a year-round program of significant volunteer opportunities enabling individuals to effect change with their hands as well as their hearts and wallets. It means instituting an Impact Assessment and Learning Department to evaluate Federation and agencies’ programs to ensure that our allocations are having the impact we need them to have. It means hiring a Chief Security Officer to help our agencies and synagogues strengthen their security and ensure a safe and welcoming community for everyone. All of that (and so much more) requires an investment of approximately $7.2 million annually.     

Finally, Federation serves as an administrative resource to many of our agencies, providing payroll, insurance, and other financial services. This “back-office” work amounts to approximately $500,000 annually.

Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ is a large organization that not only allocates philanthropic dollars to our agencies locally and overseas but provides extensive and varied services to enable collaboration, engagement, training, and security to our agencies, synagogues, and the larger community. We understand that in a fiercely competitive philanthropic world, we must always strive to be better, more efficient, and more transparent. We hope this series of articles has given you a clearer sense of how the money you give to Federation makes an impact in so many ways. As always, we welcome your questions and, more than that, we welcome your participation.

To make a gift to this year’s UJA Annual Campaign to support our community’s commitment to care for those in need, to build Jewish community, and to save the world, one person at a time, click here.