Q: What is Federation?
A: The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit (Federation) has been a vital part of our culture for over 100 years. Thanks to you, we will continue to be a safety net for everyone in our community. From youth camps that build lifelong skills, to helping seniors live with grace and dignity, your contributions ensure our community thrives.
Q: What is (a) Federation?
A: Federation is the heart and soul of Jewry’s philanthropic and humanitarian activities. It embodies a 3,500-year-old tradition of caring that goes back to the giving of the Torah and sustains us in the bold pursuit of Jewish community, Jewish values and Jewish peoplehood. Federation is the people who care enough to want to perfect an imperfect world. Federation is the passion of commitment, where tzedakah and a sense of social justice can make a difference in someone’s life.
Q: What does the Federation do?
A: Federation builds and strengthens Jewish community; from your hometown to our homeland, from the homebound to the homeless, from elderly Jews in Russia to Metropolitan Detroit teens discovering their birthright in Israel. Whether the task is reducing Jewish poverty and hunger, rescuing and resettling new immigrants, or spurring Jewish renaissance worldwide, Federation is committed to seizing this moment in Jewish history to ensure the continuity of the Jewish people.
Q: What does the Federation do compared to other Jewish organizations?
A: Federation is the one place that belongs to every Jew, the place where philanthropy, volunteerism and shared commitment come together to make a difference, to repair the world. As part of a continent-wide system, Federation has the capacity to reach every Jew in need with a social-service network unparalleled in the world. These resources, and the experience and reach of its two preeminent overseas partners – the Jewish Agency for Israel and American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, enable Federation to bring life-saving and life-sustaining caring to all Jews in need. And it brings metropolitan Detroit Jews into direct, personal, meaningful partnerships with the people of Israel through many innovative programs. Among them: Partnership 2000 community-to-community programs; birthright Israel, providing free first-time trips to Israel for Jewish youth; OTZMA volunteer opportunities in Israel for recent college graduates, and much more.
Q: What is the mission of Federation?
A: Federation was established to chart a new course for the Jewish community: to improve the quality of Jewish life worldwide, nurture Jewish learning, care for those in need, rescue Jews in danger, and ensure the continuity of our people. Federation is committed to meeting today’s and tomorrow’s challenges with a bold new model of Jewish community and philanthropy, a framework for new opportunities and new partnerships that will challenge the Jewish people to continue the traditions of education, leadership, advocacy, and responsibility that have inspired the world.
Q: What is the Metropolitan Detroit Jewish community’s relationship to Israel?
A: A strong, secure Israel is the bedrock of the global Jewish community. Through our overseas partners, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Federation and North America’s Federations have played – and continue to play — a pivotal role in Israel’s remarkable story of immigration, renewal and growth. While the federation system advocates for Israel and its desire for peace, it remains a non-partisan organization un-aligned with any particular political party in the United States or abroad.
Q: Where does my money go?
A: A gift to the Federation provides unrestricted funds to meet urgent, ongoing humanitarian and social service needs of the global Jewish people, to encourage and support Jewish education and Jewish community, and to strengthen the relationship between Metropolitan Detroit Jews and the Israeli people. Part of your gift remains right in your own community, helping to strengthen your Federation, a premier provider of programs to safeguard and enhance Jewish life at home. Part goes to meet overseas needs through our partners, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. These dollars help build the Jewish homeland and rebuild strong Jewish communities in over 60 countries around the world.
Q: Can I designate where my money goes?
A: Federation is the primary means of meeting the ongoing needs of the Detroit Jewish community. Beyond the annual campaign, a number of other philanthropic opportunities offer a wide variety of programs and projects that stress people-to-people connections in supporting unmet social and human needs in Israel and Jewish communities globally. Supplementary giving opportunities include everything from domestic abuse centers and day care centers to hospitals and universities. Endowment gifts enable donors to support a general or specific area of interest. And participating funds allow donors and their families to partner with the Federation in funding those areas of the Federation mission most deserving of additional support.
Q: What are you doing to mobilize the community in support of Israel and against inaccurate, biased media reporting on Israel?
A: Both in the local community and across North America, the Federation Federation system has been strongly proactive and vocal in support of Israel and its desire for peace: rallies have been staged; petitions and letters sent to government officials; fact sheets, briefings, updates and press releases produced and distributed, and top-level speakers from Israel dispatched throughout the continent. Importantly, Federation is also sending solidarity missions to Israel, allowing thousands of Metropolitan Detroit Jews to show their support by being there at this critical time, and speaking out on Israel’s behalf when they return.
Q: How are funding priorities in Israel and elsewhere determined and met?
A: To meet ongoing needs as well as support programs that benefit diverse populations and circumstances, Federation has put in place a revolutionary approach to overseas funding — an overseas needs and assessment system. This system ensures that a significant amount of the money allocated for overseas purposes will be provided for core services, such as rescue, immigration and absorption, with an increasing amount in the future earmarked by the Federations for other specific, creative projects.