A Message from the President and Executive Director of The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati
Shalom! It is our privilege to be sending you this 2020 Annual Report from the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati.
We would cherish the opportunity to have a live annual meeting, as we recognize the importance of our community connecting in person with one another. Although it’s not possible this year due to the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic, we are eager – when it is safe to do so – to return to hosting live events.
In this year of unprecedented public health, economic and social crises, our goal has been to serve as a trusted resource to support our community as we weather the storm. Through our connections with our closest institutional funding partner, the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, along with our community’s agencies and congregations, we have focused on keeping our finger on the pulse of local needs, and this report documents how we used our grant funding to buttress our community while continuing to advance the Foundation’s strategic initiatives.
Looking back more broadly over the past three years, it was a primary goal to build collaborative relationships with existing and new partners, and to foster a culture of openness to both small and large grant recipients in our growing network with an eye towards expanding the base of engaged Jewish community members.
In the service of that goal, we have worked with our friends at Rosov Consulting to develop a more strategic approach to these new ways of investing. With expert guidance from Wendy Rosov and her team, our Trustees and staff have refocused efforts on establishing clearly defined goals and outcomes so that we can then explore and employ evidence-based strategies to achieve those objectives. This will require grant funding, of course, but also the kind of technical assistance in the field of measurement and evaluation, as well as facilitation of communal learning that will keep us all moving forward together towards shared successes and even greater collective impact.
Until very recently, a huge missing piece of that puzzle was relevant data about our Jewish community. With that in mind, one of the most significant developments of the past year was the completion and rollout of the 2019 Cincinnati Jewish Community Study, which provides us with an exciting opportunity to learn more about the changing Jewish engagement and human services needs of the members of our shared community. While it will be an ongoing process to understand how different segments of our Jewish population seek to connect to our community, we are committed to a continuation of our support for the programs and initiatives that are already engaging so many people, even as we invest in new ideas and experiments intended to broaden and expand the base. We are confident that under John Stein’s astute leadership, our shared work with so many important partners will continue to thrive, and we will look forward to reporting on our progress in the term ahead.
As we conclude our work in 2020, and look ahead to 2021 and beyond, we acknowledge and pay tribute to two luminaries retiring this year from the Jewish Foundation Board. Mike Oestreicher and J. David Rosenberg came on the board during the final months before the sale of the Jewish Hospital, which means their two terms as Trustees span the entire new era of the Jewish Foundation. As President, Mike helped establish a new culture and new principles for how the Foundation could best serve as a trusted, high-impact investor in the Jewish community, and his leadership helped set the tone for an entire decade of dynamic activity and accomplishment. As Vice President of Investment and Finance, David skillfully stewarded our community’s most precious resource through volatile financial markets, and made a lasting contribution with his focus on excellence – within the Foundation, and throughout our grantee community. We are grateful for both of them, and we will sorely miss them around the Foundation table. In equal measure, we are excited to welcome Sandy Kaltman and Walter Solomon, two accomplished community leaders, onto the Foundation Board as our newest Trustees. We are confident that Sandy and Walter will honor the legacy that Mike, David and their predecessors leave behind, and that they will also inspire new thinking and fresh ideas around the Board table.
It has been an honor to work with our entire Board of Trustees and professional staff team. These individuals are not only bright and thoughtful, but they invest countless hours to understand and care for the needs of our community. A sincere thank you to each board member for their commitment of time and talent on behalf of the Jewish people. And, thank you to our partners for sharing our vision and values for the future Jewish community. It will continue because of all of you.