North American federations could and should be doing much better than they are. They matter. They are important. They embody the ideas of community, common cause and the ability to respond to collective concerns. They are vital institutions, and we want them to succeed. Federations have been the hub of a vast system that involves community centers, family services, bureaus of Jewish education and so many more organizations. But this system is becoming unglued, and changes need to be made.
For generations, the North American Jewish federation system has stood as the central address of Jewish philanthropy -- demonstrating from generation to generation the power of our collective to build our community.The 155 federations of United Jewish Communities and 400 smaller networked communities boast an annual fundraising campaign nearing $900 million and endowment assets of more than $13 billion.UJC's lay and professional leadership recently set out to look at our philanthropic landscape. In June, the UJC launched a strategic plan that tackles the major challenges and opportunities facing Jewish federations and our entire community.