Annual Campaign largest in Federation history

June 2022
Abigail Cukier

Hamilton Jewish Federation’s 2022 annual campaign raised more than $1.6 million—its highest total ever. In addition, its Ukraine Emergency Campaign raised $134,946, with those funds going to Federation’s overseas partner agencies, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Joint Distribution Committee to provide humanitarian aid and support.  Jay State, longtime member of Federation’s campaign cabinet, attributes the success to community generosity. “Our community stepped up and said, ‘Together, we are here for all of us. We know our help is necessary. Count us in. We are here to do good.’ And good we did— with the help of the mitzvah-performing donors, the hardworking and committed canvassers, our incredible professional staff, our amazing Gustavo and the dedicated cabinet.

“We should be very proud of what we have accomplished, together, as a caring community, determined to do good. I think of the good we will accomplish with the funds raised and my heart swells with joy, pride and gratitude.”

Since 2017, Federation has continually increased its fundraising goal and accomplished each one. In 2017, the campaign raised $1,025,000. In 2019, the total was $1,202,000 and in 2021, it was $1,500,000. This year’s total was $1,603,464 and more than $1.7 million including the Ukraine Emergency Campaign.

“The commitment from the people involved was fantastic,” says Gustavo Rymberg, Federation CEO. “It’s important to say thank you to our volunteers, the people in the campaign cabinet, the people making the phone calls for donations and all of the professional staff. And thank you to the community for its generosity. All the good everyone is doing is coming from across different generations, different genders and all backgrounds in the community.”

Rymberg says Federation is now looking toward 2023. Its goal for next year’s campaign is $1.8 million. “That sounds like a big number, but with our campaign numbers from the past five years, I think it is realistic,” he says.

“We have gone from lockdown to reopening to war, from known to unknown. And we always kept going. We adapted to changes and to emergency circumstances. We have to go forward and create a more diverse, more inclusive and secure Jewish community, which we all deserve.”

Howard Eisenberg, Federation board chair, believes Federation and the community will reach next year’s $1.8 million goal. “The generosity of our community is second to none. And it all starts with Federation staff and our volunteers and leadership.” he says. “Our success since Gustavo came to Federation is no coincidence. He is able to get so many people on the bandwagon and it’s contagious. He is able to reach people in this community who haven’t been reached before.”

Eisenberg says another key to success has been the rise in community programming, including events like the Jewish Film Festival and Holocaust Education Week, as well as regular weekly and monthly programming. “That keeps people in touch and that’s really important,” he says.

State agrees. “I, along with so many others, think the world of Gustavo. It is too easy just to say that he is a mensch. Gustavo is a leader with a heart, a vision and an ability to achieve,” State says. “He pulls us to our objectives, brings us along with his ideas and goals. I firmly believe this is due to his drive to do good for our community.  I think that is seen by the community, recognized and appreciated.  It results in our being more motivated by him to pull together for the common good of our community.”