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August 28, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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August 28, 2009

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-- PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 28, 2009 new P JEVVISHO:: ! ~ Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando Fiscal year begins Sept. 1 BUDGET (amount raised by the annual community campaign, from which the Federation allo- cates its own operating budget and also allocates funds to its agencies) Last year (2008): $1.8 million This year (2009): $1.1 million ALLOCATION TO JFGO (amount Federation will use to pay its own staff, fundraise and operate its office--does not include programs such as Beit Hamidrash or Or Hadash) Last year (2008): $512,000 This year (2009): $400,000 CHALLENGES The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando's annual community campaign raised $1.1 million this past campaign year, down from $1.8 the previous year.. Out of this pot of money, the Federation has to run its own operations and allocate money for projects such as overseas aid to Jews in Israel and around the world--and fund its own community agencies. While the agencies have individual sources of funding from sources such as individual and corporate donors, special events, grants and endowments, and fees-for-service, each of them has received sig- nificantly less from the Federation this year than last year, and the Federation has less money for its own expenses. (Federation programs such as Partnership 2000 in Israel, Or Hadash and Beit Hamidrash all have separate zero-based budgets, and the Federation provides them with "shared services," such as office space.) "We know that everyone is going to be challenged by the reduced funding," says Federation president Ian Robinson .... A critical need is to have donors fulfill their campaign pledges promptly. Robinson notes a 20 percent shrinkage on fulfillment of pledges in this past year's campaign, as opposed to the traditional 4 percent. In total, there is about $1 million outstanding in uncollected pledges over the last three years. SOLUTIONS HelpDirect Orlando, the Federation's online designated donation pro- gram, closed this summer at about $40,000, says Robinson. He's hopeful that future online fundraising efforts will continue to generate dollars. "We do not want to be campaigning year-round." The Federation plans to unroll a new method of giving, Kindle Orlando, at Chanukah season this year; this will include online directed giving, "giving circles" of likeminded individuals centered on a specific project, and other new models "to allow people to know where their money is going, and allow us to tie directly into the community., ... "What you saw on HelpDirect Orlando was a prototype simplified version of how we are trying to bring to a wider base of donors the information about where they might want to put their philanthropic dollars," says Robinson.... Robinson would also like the Federation to do a better job of leveraging the money from the TOP investment fund..,. The Federation has cut staff positions and made across-the-board staff pay cuts. The salary for its incoming executive director has been significantly cut, but "the scope is also different." ... This year, the Federation moved to employee leasing, in which dollars are saved in health and insurance benefits by joining a pool, The Federation retains all the rights of hiring and firing, yet for insurance and payroll purposes only, the employees are considered part of the greater pool, creating greater "leverage against an insurance company," and saving human resources and administrative costs .... "There's not much left to cut," says Robinson, "Our staff size is nominal at best. We're down as far as we can go and have the substance to be able to resurrect ourselves into a better organization going forward." As to the outstanding pledges: "The Federation has basically fronted money to the community," says Robinson. If all those pledges came in tomorrow, there would be far more money to meet community needs that represent all the holes in this year's budget. FIorkla Central Florida Hillel Fiscal year begins Sept. 1 BUDGET Last year (2008): $750,000 This year (2009): $400,000 FEDERATION ALLOCATION Last year: $30,000 This year: $16,000 CHALLENGES Unlike other local agencies, Central Florida Hillel took a hit from the Bernard Madoff financial scandal. Hillel International was directly affected, since'foundations that support it were invested with him .... The state-wide pool from which all Florida Hillels are allocated funds also took a loss. Last year, CFH received $97,000 from the pool, and will likely receive no more than $60,000 this year. "Some of it is directly attributable to Madoff and the economy," says Rabbi Jonathan Siger, executive director.... Local major donors contribute significantly to Hillel, and the general economy has hurt some of them as well .... And because Central Florida's is still a "young Hillel" on a relatively "young" campus, it still has few alumni in a position to become major donors .... Last year, the CFH program budget was $110,000; this Year, it's $30,000, of which $10,000 is already allocated to a specific program. SOLUTIONS "It's pretty creative what we did," says Siger. CFH moved its program office to the general University of Central Florida Student Union, saving the $50,000 it had spent renting its space at The Vault. "That's not a ter- rible thing: We'll be right there were students congregate." Siger recently moved himself to a small and less expensive executive office on Alafaya Trail, just off campus, and "we're doing programming wherever we can find a venue." The silver lining is that Hillers presence at The Vault was always meant to be temporary. "We're preparing for a capital campaign and the construction of the new permanent home for Hillel. That project is still moving forward. It's a win-win in that regard." ... CFH's alloca- tion from Hillel International remains the same, at $28,000~ because the international group cut staff and made other cuts....CFH itself has cut programming, staff positions, and staff benefits from the executive on down. Salaries will remain fiat this year.... There will be fewer and less-frequent Shabbat dinners and other such programs to bring stu- dents together. CFH will rely more on its group of"wonderful" student volunteers .... "We worry about every dollar," says Siger. "Our budget should be about $1.2 million" for a Hillel of its size, serving one of the largest Jewish student bodies in the U.S. Yet Hillel's impact on students, says Siger, "is what drives me, the fact that this is such a critical com- munity." "If every parent of each of our five thousand students gave $100," he says--the amount would more than make up for the budget cuts he was just forced to create. Hebrew Day School Fiscal year begins July 1 BUDGET Last year (2008): $3.1 million This year (2009): $2.7 million FEDERATION ALLOCATION Last year: $148,000 This year: $75,000 Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center Fiscal year begins Sept. 1 BUDGET Last year (2008): $600,000 This year (2009): $519,704 FEDERATION ALLOCATION Last year: $69,000 This year: $35,453 CHALLENGES Lynne Shefsky, head of school: "We are turning children away. We never had to do it in my 13 years here."...Requests for student financial aid this year total about $450,000 and HDS can only give out about $350,000. The school had to request at least an extra thousand dollars from those on as- sistance. Shefsky: "Some of the people are not going to be able to do this, and they will pull out and go to public school Many of these are observant Jews, and a Jewish education is so vital to their existence and we just can't do it.'...Shefsky on assistance: "Usually 25 to 30 percent of the families are looking for assistance. This year 35 to 40 percent are looking for assistance."... Shefsky on enrollment: "It's holding pretty steady, but it will depend on how the families that need assistance do." Shefsky says HDS won't be able to open additional classes for grades that are full. CHALLENGES '`we fit into many different categories," says executive director Pam Kancher. Many grant sources have significantly reduced or eliminated grants for 2009 -2010. "I was told to anticipate a 30-40 percent reduction from United Arts and the State of Florida's Division of Cultural Affairs suspended its grant cycle for this year." This equals fewer dollars to support the Center's cultural offerings: films, art, KristaUnacht and Yom HaShoah commemorations. "The State Department of Education, which has been reducing its support for our Teachers Institute for the past few years, informed me not to expect any funding for next year's training." Requests from teachers wanting to attend the highly effective Teachers Institute on teaching the Holocaust have increased, and with bullying and bigotry still a significant problem in schools, this is needed more than ever.... "The Orange County Public School system, which shares in the salary of resource teacher Mitch Bloomer, asked us to increase the frequency of our teacher seminars." School budget cuts create an increased demand for in-school presentations. SOLUTIONS "We have a broad mission. Our saving grace is that we are able to apply for funds in many different categories: education, diversity training, and SOLUTIONS Shefsky lists what HDS is doing: Teachers are receiving no increase in pay this year...The school is no longer contributing to their 401K...School slimmed down the budget on every line item. Some teachers are putting out money of their own for supplies...Professional development has been cut, and now teachers will have to pay their own way. "We are bringing people in instead of going out."...The school's major fundraising consists of its four big annual events--the gala, the poker tournament, the golf tournament and its theater production. The play this coming year is going to have a sponsor book, which will provide the school some more money...Shefsky remains upbeat: '`we are streamlining the budget but keeping a high quality of edueation-,enfusedwith technology--andwith the phenomenal teaching staffwe have. I think we have a bright future for our school." arts and culture from a wide variety of corporations and foundations," says Kancher. Yet the 50 percent cut in Federation allocations (14 percent of the Center's previous budget), and the harsh economy, have taken a toll. Several staff have been transferred from full- to part-time, and only three full-time staff remain, including Kancher herself.... The Center will honor Gov. Bob Graham at next year's Dinner of Tribute, which should increase attendance .... The Center is focusing on developing its Web site and is stepping up marketing and development. "All the experts say in times of economic downturn, the last thing that you stop funding is marketing and development. We're told over and over that the com- munity is not aware of the broad spectrum of programs we offer. We're a wonderful resource for the community."... The Center continues to make good use of endowments, as well as corporate and individual funding. And it has reserves. "We haven't gone into the reserves, but we know we will in 2009-10 to make up the loss from this year," says Kancher. She remains proud that, as founder Tess Wise stipulated, admission and regular programs are free to the public, which has kept attendance steady where other cultural institutions' door counts have gone down. Jewish Community Center Fiscal year begins Sept. 1 BUDGET Last year (2008): $7 million This year (2009): $7,2 million FEDERATION ALLOCATION Last year: $172,000 This year: $88,000 CHALLENGES "The last thing we want is a child having to stop in the middle of the year," say associate director David Wayne and marketing director Amy Schwartz. But more parents are pulling their children out of the JCC's early childhood, after school and other programs due to lack of money. "Scholarship requests are going through the roof." So far, the JCC hasn't had to turn anyone away, but requests for assistance have gone up "probably 30 percent," says Wayne. "The most common scenarios feature two working parents or families headed by a single parent. They want to go to work and provide for their children at the same time. The scholarship fund is strained." And because enrollment is down by 20 to 30 percent, programs are generating less revenue.... Donors, both corporate and individual, have found themselves less able to give .... The United Way has now changed its funding model, and the JCC is one of 12 local agencies that will no longer be receiving those general funds, although UW donors can still specify the JCC as a designated recipient of their UW dollars .... The JCC could also use volunteer help from the community in providing technological help, in order to free up its own staff for other projects. SOLUTIONS "The biggest thing anyone can do to support the JCC is to send their chiklren here," says Amy Schwartz. Fees for services are one of the main sources of revenue for the JCC. "If you send your kids to gym or karate or after school programs, I would really urge parents to consider sending their kids to the 'J.'" ... The JCC has been streamlining its budget with an across-the,board pay cut of 5 percent for all staff, from the executive director on down..., There are now fewer staff, and the remaining staff have an increased workload as growing program responsibilities are apportioned among them.... The JCC collaborated with the Holocaust Center on a mailing that benefited both and hopes to partner with other agencies where possible. ,..David Wayne stresses that the JCC's Rosen campus in South Orlando, whose grand opening takes place Aug. 30, has not been affected by cuts: ' Nothing will stop this from going forward." Thanks to the generosity of hotelier Harris Rosen and his staff, that construction hasn't presented a financial problem .... Wayne and Schwartz anticipate that the upcoming event honoring outgoing director Marvin Friedman will help raise funds for scholarships .... Though ticket sales are down, other special events continue to generate revenue, the JCC continues to seek grants, and local individuals and organizations remain firm supporters. Wayne: "Without their dollars, we'd have to look at cut- ting even more."