The annual fundraising campaign of UJA-Federation of New York closed at the end of June with a total of $150.8 million, an increase of $3.9 million over the 2014 campaign, the philanthropy announced this week.
The 2015 figure represented the sixth consecutive year of an increase in the campaign, following a decrease caused by the national recession that began in 2008.
The $150.8 million figure represents an increase of 2.65 percent. As a point of comparison, overall charitable giving by individuals nationally rose by 5.7 percent between 2013 and 2014.
The total raised by UJA-Federation in fiscal year 2015, including planned giving, endowments, capital projects and special initiatives — including the Israel Emergency Campaign during last summer’s war in Gaza — was $207.8 million, an increase of $21.8 million or 11.7 percent, a steeper jump than the national average for total charitable giving, which rose by 7.1 percent between 2013 and 2014.
“I’m deeply satisfied with the results. Across the board it was a strong year,” said Eric Goldstein, who marked his one-year anniversary as the charity’s CEO this month. “We are doing a good job explaining to our community the work we do.”
Nearly 53,000 donors contributed to the 2015 campaign, a 3.9 percent increase over the 2014 total of 51,000.
Over the past few years the UJA-Federation has made an effort to reach out to donors in more parts of the Jewish community, some of whom make relatively small contributions, instead of emphasizing large-scale contributions from donors in the core of the Jewish community, Goldstein said. The philanthropy has increased outreach to such groups as millennials who have not reached their maximum earning potential, the emerging “tech community,” and Orthodox Jews, he said.
A growing part of this outreach includes use of social media, and site visits to recipients of UJA-Federation funding.
“More events, more volunteers, more people going on site visits,” Goldstein said. “This is ongoing. We’ve made it a greater priority to go deeper.”
Fundraising among members of the area’s Russian-speaking émigré community is increasingly conducted in UJA-Federation’s extant professional divisions, such as Wall Street, of which young Russian-speaking Jews constitute a growing part, rather than through the philanthropy’s Russian Division, which for decades worked with the early newcomers from the former Soviet Union.
UJA-Federation’s annual campaign, co-chaired this year by Jeffrey Schoenfeld and Jeffrey Stern, remains the largest single philanthropic effort by any local community in the world.
“This fundraising accomplishment is testament to a tremendous caring and committed community,” UJA-President Alisa Doctoroff said in a statement.
The record raised in the annual campaign was $153.7 million in 2008, before the worst affects of the recession were apparent, Goldstein said.
Leaders of the annual campaign will set a 2016 fundraising goal later this year. Based on this year’s results, next year’s figure will probably exceed the amount raised in the recently concluded drive, Goldstein said. “I would be surprised if [it were] otherwise.”
Note: This story was updated with additional national statistics o charitable giving on July 15.