By Anita Grace –
The Jewish Federation of Ottawa is putting a fresh face on their annual fundraising campaign. Jeff Miller, a partner at GGFL Chartered Accountants on Richmond Road and Chair of the annual campaign, is hoping to capitalize on the Federation’s new president and CEO, Andrea Freedman. “This is a new opportunity, a new person who really has a lot to offer,” he says.
Freedman has built a career in Jewish organizations in Montreal and Toronto. Prior to assuming this position, she was the Vice President of philanthropy and operations at Mount Sinai Hospital. When she moved to Ottawa, she found a home in Westboro and says she has quickly fallen in love with the city and neighbourhood.
“I’m super excited about the campaign,” says Freedman. “The potential of its success is very exciting for me because of the good that can be done with the cherished donor dollars.”
The Federation’s annual campaign is a long-standing tradition in the local Jewish community. Last year it raised $4.2 million through fundraising events and individual donations from 22,000 people. Corporate sponsorship comes from TD Bank, the Ottawa Senators and GGFL.
“Our goal is to increase our campaign [contributions] by five per cent,” says Miller. The campaign runs from September through December and he hopes more people will engage with and support the Jewish community in town and in Israel.
“All gifts are really appreciated,” says Freedman. She explains that the funds raised through the campaign are “meeting the needs of the Ottawa Jewish community and taking care of our most vulnerable members.”
Local organizations that are supported through the campaign include Tamir, a support organization for youth and adults with special needs, and the Jewish Community Centre, which is situated on Kitchissippi’s doorstep.
Although Freedman says that the majority of the funds stay within Ottawa, some of the money also supports the people of Israel. Funds are directed to social programs, services and infrastructures there.
Freedman has personally spent a lot of time in Israel, having been there about 20 times. “I have an incredibly strong connection with Israel,” she says. “It is the Jewish homeland.”
“There is culture, history, tradition and religion juxtaposed against modernity. The combination and vibrancy is incredible.”
Her connection with communities in Israel and at home is evident as she speaks about the campaign. “For me, the concept of community is layered,” she says, noting that it encompasses the Jewish communities in Ottawa, Canada and beyond.
“I think about partnership with other people and organizations to make sure that each and every community is as vibrant and meaningful as it can be.”
The Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s Annual Campaign kickoff will be held on Sunday, September 14 at Centrepointe Theatre, at 7:30 p.m. The keynote speaker is Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream empire. Tickets are $20 and are available through Centrepointe Theatre at centrepointetheatre.com.