Building for the future

Stephen Chipkin

AS JCA gears up for another year of events, the organisation’s president Stephen Chipkin has reflected on the “interesting, challenging and exciting” year that was, flagging JCA’s engagement with the younger generation as one of the key highlights.

“The Jumpstart program is really yielding fruit, there is an engagement level with the next generation that I haven’t felt for a long time,” he remarked.

Two distinct long-term benefits stem from this engagement, noted Chipkin, who points out that as the next generation becomes more engaged and invested in wanting to see their community thrive, they will become the custodians of the community, while also – importantly – growing to become the future big donors.

Focused engagement may have seen donor numbers increase among the younger generation, but the dollars that move the needle continue to come from larger donors, noticeably in the area of directed and project gifts.

“The significant uplift in the giving of larger donors is taking place in a more directed way – for example, the impact of The Giving Forum is evident with the significant capital gifts secured for the Sydney Jewish Museum,” commented Chipkin.

In 2017, a year in which JCA celebrated its 50th birthday, generous gifts enabled the establishment of JCA The Choice Foundation – an endowment fund to assist and empower those with a disability.

Broader fundraising efforts were similarly strong as JCA’s general campaign raised $12.1 million.

“In 2016 we increased our funding by almost $1 million year-on-year, and last year we were very close to matching that,” said Chipkin.

But when including sponsorship figures – $210,000 in 2016 and $410,000 in 2017 – the result last year was slightly ahead of 2016.

To kick start its next annual fundraising campaign, JCA’s Evening of Dangerous Ideas will be held in late May, featuring a range of thought-provoking speakers, with details to be released in due course.

In the wake of the Gen17 survey results – which revealed that financial limitations often present a barrier to accessing Jewish day schools, and with a similar finding having emerged from Gen08 – last year’s J-Bridge launch is an important strategic development.

Alongside its achievements, JCA also reached clarity on its 2%+ Campaign. Intended to prompt members of the community to reflect on their core values – and to make a small bequest to the community that reflects those values – the plan speaks to another key finding of Gen17, said Chipkin.

“The direction of our community is less about religion, less about formal Jewish studies, and more about connection to community,” he remarked. “Harnessing that interest, that concern and care for the community is something that I think JCA needs to focus and build on.”