It could have been a lot worse.
Despite a battered economy and a fundraising drop of at least 15 percent in its Wall Street Division, UJA-Federation of New York, the country’s largest federation, announced it raised $215.3 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30.
The total figure — a 1 percent increase above the amount raised in the last fiscal year and which includes revenue from a variety of sources — includes $136 million for the 2009 annual campaign. That represents a drop of 11.5 percent against last year’s figure, but is very close to last January’s revised goal of $140 million, at a time when the economy was tanking.
“I think it’s very good,” said Paul Kane, a senior vice president of UJA-Federation. “We did a really good job for charitable giving. For us to maintain $215 million is pretty amazing.”
In addition to the annual campaign, the organization raised $60.5 million in Planned Giving & Endowments and $18.8 million for the Capital Campaign.
“In any given year, for a local charity to raise this amount of money is impressive,” said John Shapiro, president of UJA-Federation. “To generate these results in a difficult economic climate requires the efforts of a terrific and dedicated staff that is deeply committed to helping those in need.
Kane pointed out that 65,000 individuals contributed to the 2009 fundraising drive, a figure that has remained relatively unchanged in recent years.
“We found that when people are cutting back on charitable giving, we are among the last they cut because they know of our support for more than 100 agencies and our impact on the Jewish community and Jewish life in New York,” he said.
Jerry Levin, chair of the UJA-Federation board, said a reason for that is that “donors trust the experience and professionalism UJA-Federation provides as an organization, and they have confidence that the funds are allocated in the most beneficial way, especially in these troubling economic times.”
Asked about a report by the Giving USA Foundation that found a 6 percent decline in charitable giving in the United States in 2008 and 5 percent increase in donations to charities in the group known as Public Society Benefit, Kane said those figures reflected the calendar year 2008. The recession hit in the latter part of the year, soon after the UJA-Federation campaign was launched.
John Ruskay, UJA-Federation’s CEO and executive vice president, said he believes the strength of the campaign comes from the organization’s unique role in “providing the infrastructure for caring and Jewish education for the Jewish people locally and globally. … We ask donors to provide significant resources to support individuals, families, and communities that aren’t necessarily part of their lives.”