Campaign 2021: Campaign, community and the pandemic

By Reporter staff

The Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton says that its Campaign is continuing, but this is the most difficult year for fund-raising in recent memory. “The problem is not just that it’s more difficult to raise funds when we can’t hold events or meet in person,” said Shelley Hubal, Federation executive director. “It’s that local organizations are also hurting because of the pandemic. Their income is down due to reductions in programming and advertising, and an increase in expenses for equipment and sanitizers so everyone entering their buildings remains safe.”

Hubal noted, “In addition, members of our community have also lost income due to the pandemic. Whether due to layoffs, businesses closing or reduction of hours, many people don’t have as much disposable income as normal. Our mission is to ensure our local institutions endure, now and for future generations. We are working hard every day to make that happen.”

Federation beneficiary organizations that have been affected by the pandemic include:

  • Hillel Academy of Broome County: Additional expenses occurred when Hillel Academy went virtual for the end of the 2019-20 school year. There are also increased expenses for supplies needed to keep teachers and students safe.
  • Jewish Community Center: The JCC has lost income from a decrease in membership, programming and daycare. The JCC ran a successful summer camp, but, due to COVID-19 restrictions, had a greatly reduced number of campers. 
  • Jewish Family Service: JFS has seen an uptick in needs for its clients. “During this pandemic JFS has experienced an increase in requests for assistance with food, rent, utilities and, more recently, medical co-pays,” said Rose Shea, director of JFS. “The people reaching out for assistance consist of those who have lost their jobs and those who have experienced a decline in their work hours as related to the pandemic. Additionally, JFS has seen an increase in a need for emotional support, and a need for referrals for counseling as related to the pandemic and recent world events.”
  • The Reporter: Advertising income is down due to businesses cancelling ads due to the pandemic. “If businesses and restaurants are closed, we certainly understand their need to cut back on advertising,” said Rabbi Rachel Esserman, executive editor of The Reporter Group. “We’ve reduced expenses by going bi-weekly, but that can only do so much. Our Federation allocation is an important part of our funding and we wish Campaign 2021 great success.” 

The Federation also allocates money to support programs of the Jewish Federations of North America. These programs are located in Israel (for example, Lunch and Learn – Dimona and the JDC Center for Independent Living – Bnei Brak), the former Soviet Union (for example, Hesed Eliyahu – Tbilisi, Georgia) and across the world for its Aliyah of Rescue, which helps Jews who live in hostile parts of the world emigrate to Israel.

“Help us keep all Jewish life strong, both here and across the world,” Hubal said. “Thank you for your support. I assure you, every gift has a positive impact.”