A message from our President and CEO

Heidi Gantwerk

When I speak about Federation, I get a little excited. My already quick talking accelerates even more. But I can’t slow down when there is so much to share and so much to do! This past year followed two of the most challenging years in our organization’s (and our community’s) history. Jewish community remained mostly online; those in need grew needier, and anti-Israel sentiment and antisemitism and antisemitic violence increased around the world and in San Diego. The need for Tikkun Olam, for repairing the world, is more pressing than ever. Yet we saw generosity, kindness, creativity, and inspiration emerge and that energy, that renewed understanding of the importance of community, fueled our work this past year.

 

We re-ignited our partnership with our sister region Sha’ar HaNegev with multiple visits back and forth between our communities. We launched powerful new leadership development programs and brought many of the regions’ synagogues together for a Community Security Institute that will make everyone safer. We convened a professional working group that is creating a more coordinated and comprehensive response to Jews in San Diego who are struggling financially. We helped hundreds of young people in San Diego go back to camp and to travel to Israel. And we have planned an extraordinary CommUNITY trip to Israel, May 4-11, 2023. If you have never been or if you have been 100 times, you will not want to miss this once in a generation experience. This report is really your story and how your generous support helps create a vibrant, caring, connected and enduring Jewish community. We are grateful, as we continue to build the future of local Jewish life. 

 


President and CEO

 


 

A message from our Board Chair

 

Jack Mazel

I hope you all have your seatbelts buckled because we—our Federation with you—are going places! And I don’t mean just our CommUNITY trip to Israel next year. But if you haven’t signed up already for that transformative trip, please do so soon.

 

The focused and tireless efforts of Federation have such a significant impact on the quality and strength of Jewish life in San Diego, Israel, and around the world. We also quickly respond to support Jews and others in moments of crisis, such as the war in Ukraine.  

 

This Impact Report offers just a snapshot of our achievements last year. These achievements were possible thanks to the partnership, the genuine teamwork between our generous stakeholders, and effective professionals. Together, we not only plant the seeds for a strong and vibrant community but we also water and nurture the seedlings to maximize their vitality and opportunities for success.

 

I hope you take great pride in all that you enable. Our community’s generosity allows Federation to shape a better and more secure tomorrow. Thanks to you, Federation can do all that it does.

 

So please enjoy this report and be sure to visit the website to learn more about our areas of impact. With great momentum and clear direction, I urge you, put on your seatbelts because we are going places!

 

On behalf of all the lives we impact and all the current and future generations that will benefit from the work we do today, I thank you. 

 


Board Chair

Our Mission

Inspired by Jewish values, we broaden and deepen engagement in Jewish life to strengthen Jewish identity, foster dynamic connections with Israel, and care for all Jews in need.

We mobilize our community’s resources, leaders, and organizations to address the community’s most critical needs, creating profound impact locally, in Israel, and around the world.

 

Federation’s distinct vantage point empowers us to identify the most pressing issues facing our community and mobilize community builders, philanthropists, leaders, and resources to address them.

We are the only organization with the capacity, scope, and mandate to advance our community by seizing opportunities for growth. 

By forging meaningful connections and collaborative partnerships, we unite local leaders and organizations to pursue a shared vision and meet our community’s needs.

As our community emerges from the pandemic and begins to collectively reimagine a vibrant Jewish future, Federation’s work has never been more important.

Israel and Overseas: Deepening Connections
 

 

Federation is dedicated to finding ways for our community to deepen our individual and collective relationships with Israel and around the world. We bring our community together to deepen our connections with one another, meet evolving needs, and support local Jewish communal organizations in our shared pursuit of building vibrant Jewish life.

Gesher San Diego Cohort traveled to Sha’ar HaNegev to spend a meaningful week with their counterparts, foster personal relationships between the agencies' executives and spearheading potential projects between organizations to strengthen the connection between the two sister communities.

San Diego Community hosted teens from Sha’ar HaNegev, Israel, and Sofia, Bulgaria as part of the Teen Global Ambassador Program for an inspiring week of learning about each other’s culture, creating long-lasting friendships, and strengthening the sense of shared responsibility and Jewish peoplehood. Click here to watch a video about the Global Ambassador Program.

Honeymoon Israel is sending their first trip from San Diego since 2020. Twenty couples will travel together to Israel for an unforgettable experience in December 2022.

Looking Ahead: Building Communal Vibrancy
 

 

When young and veteran community members want to build their skills and capabilities as leaders, they turn to Federation’s leadership training opportunities. In these programs, they communicate with, grow with, and learn from one another and develop a community of peers ready to lead and create San Diego Jewish life.

 

LEADS (Leadership, Education and Discovery Series) shifted to include more leadership training and a mentoring component that engages seasoned professionals. 

The second cohort of the Pauline Foster Women’s Leadership Institute began with 18 new leaders representing a wide array of organizations, life stages and leadership experience. 

Invested over $80,000 into 13 local organizations through grants and an incubator program to support leadership development throughout the community. 

 

We are crafting and implementing a robust strategy to support Jews experiencing poverty in our community. The needs are great, and our response must be as well. We pay special attention to local Holocaust survivors to ensure their days are spent with dignity, security, and a sense of community.

Working Group on Jewish Poverty and Stability successfully brought together JFS, Kindness Initiative, Hebrew Free Loan, Seacrest at Home, and JCF to develop new collaborations and partnerships to better address poverty in the Jewish community

Granted $40,000 to local Jewish organizations to provide rent support to Jews struggling to stay in their homes, the Kulam B’Bayit Fund.

Leveraged $80,000 of local Federation funding to secure a 1:1 match from Kavod SHEF to provide $160,000 in emergency ais to local Holocaust survivors.

Securing our Jewish Community
 

 

Every member of our community deserves to engage and participate safely in Jewish communal life. Through our partnership with Secure Community Network (SCN), Federation is prioritizing and enhancing San Diego’s safety, security, and preparedness.

Nine synagogues were enrolled in the first cohort of the Jewish Community Security Institute committing to six sessions of deep dives into best practices in community security.

Granted $90,000 to local synagogues to support various security efforts, these grants are known as the Security Capacity Grant.

Worked with the Secure Community Network (SCN) to provide a 60-person Community Security Training, an example of what is to come with the new security director.

Secured a three-year matching grant for security bringing potentially $300,000 into the San Diego Jewish community.

 

Coming this year: We will welcome the new Federation Community Security Director, under the guidance of the Secure Community Network, to lead a robust community‑wide process to increase preparedness and response for all local Jewish institutions.

Deepening Jewish Learning & Journeys
 

 

Jewish communal experiences cultivate and strengthen Jewish identity. Federation is committed to helping individuals and families access and opt into a rich diversity of local Jewish learning and identity-building experiences.

Granted $66,000 to underwrite class trips to Israel

Connects day schools to Israel through Gesher, Shinshinim, and teen travel subsidies. This year we more than doubled our Shinshinim program, bringing 9 Israeli teen emissaries who will be volunteering throughout the year in 16 different Jewish agencies, schools, and organizations.

Provided over $500,000 of Covid-19 relief funds in partnership with JCF and Leichtag

Strengthening Jewish Identity
 

 

The San Diego Jewish Teen Initiative strengthens organizations, institutions, and individuals that support Jewish teens in our community. We are committed to building organizational capacity to support institutions that serve teens and teen professionals, seeding innovation, mental health and wellness initiatives, providing teens with Jewish immersive experiences, and sustaining a culture of learning focused on teens. We support the betterment, resilience, and engagement of Jewish teens in San Diego.

Supported immersive experiences for teens by granting over $29,000 in subsidies for 67 teens.

Supported local teen organizations by providing microgrants for mental health and wellness programming, professional development for teen professionals, leadership and skill development for teens. We awarded 16 grants to 7 organizations totaling almost $19,000.

The shift in the Peer Leaders Fellowship model was proven to be successful, training teens to be investigators of the Jewish teen experience. Fellows were able to glean important information from their friends as it relates to connection to community, experience with antisemitism, checking in about mental health and wellness, and thoughts about Israel. Two of the peer leaders presented their findings at the Federation Major Donor event to an enthralled crowd.  

Ukraine Crisis Relief
 

 

One of the most impactful aspects of our collective strength as a Federation system is our capacity to respond to major crises. When Russia invaded Ukraine six months ago, Federations sprang into action. Not since the efforts to save Soviet Jewry have Jewish institutions around the world been called upon to save so many lives, aid so many refugees, and enable so many to make Aliyah. Our Federation is one of more than 146 communities that make up Jewish Federations of North America.

Jewish Federations have allocated some $61 million of the over $73 million we have raised to over 50 NGOs operating on the ground in Ukraine and neighboring countries to support refugees and Jewish communities in their time of need. We are continuing to allocate funds based on the changing needs in the field.

32,325 Olim from Ukraine and Russia have made Aliyah to Israel.

2.7M+ pounds of humanitarian aid distribution.

Thank You
 

 

Federation is grateful to our volunteers, leaders, professional team, donors, corporate sponsors, and community partners. On behalf of our partners and all those we serve, thank you for your commitment to strengthening Jewish life and making a difference for thousands in our local and global Jewish community.