The Makings Of A Mission

Mark Neumann (left) and Michael Hoffman, together with Linda Hurwitz, led The Associated through a  re-envisioning of its mission, vision and value statements.

Mark Neumann (left) and Michael Hoffman, together with Linda Hurwitz, led The Associated through a re-envisioning of its mission, vision and value statements.

The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore earlier this summer unveiled new mission, vision and value statements — not too dissimilar from what the organization had on its website before.

But there is a change. The vision statement now states clearly that The Associated “will secure the resources necessary to address the evolving landscape of Jewish life, ensuring a vibrant community for future generations.”

It may seem a bold move, but for those involved in the process, which was termed Vision 2020, this statement is simply the obvious.

“It more clearly states that we are a fundraising organization [and] to make it very clear that to achieve our goals we need to raise the money necessary,” said Mark Neumann, who co-chaired the process with Linda Hurwitz. Neumann, who is slated to be the next chair of the board of The Associated, said the process in no way “turned this into a brand new organization, but reflects where we are today and what we are trying to achieve.”

Working closely with The Associated planning team, including Michael Hoffman, chief planning and strategy officer, as well as with a diverse team of more than two dozen lay leaders who, as Neumann put it, “reflected a broad cross section of the community,” it took months to create the new statements, which will serve as a road map and mirror for future programmatic and other initiatives.

Hoffman said revisiting one’s mission, vision and value statements is good practice for any organization and called the process “soul searching.” He said the goal was to ensure the mission, vision and values — and role and function — of The Associated continue to be relevant today — “and not just today, but also for tomorrow.”

Hoffman said the lay team started with blank paper and was asked the question, “If you were creating a federation, what would your mission statement be?”

Why not just tweak the old version?

Said Hoffman: “We wanted to make sure it was an open conversation.”

The feedback, he said, was that the former mission statement was “vast,” and current leadership was looking for something clearer, more focused and shorter, something that could roll off the tongue crisply, cleanly and in a succinct way.

“A mission statement should articulate why you are in existence as an organization,” said Hoffman. “The new one clearly does that.”

Neumann explained that in addition to working with The Associated’s lay leaders, the task force also brought the statements to Associated agency executives, who provided helpful feedback and refined and enhanced the statements throughout the process. The statement, he said, is not for the agencies — or for the whole community — but solely for The Associated. Nonetheless, he said, he thinks it represents the community “in a lot of respects; this is part of our ongoing effort to make sure the voices throughout our community are being listened to and heard. This process — and the end result — shows that.”

In addition to these statements, measurable goals and objectives will be developed in order to ground the vision in specific, tangible action items. Defining these measurements is part of the work of the three subcommittees: development, engagement and community partnerships.

Hoffman said the message of all of this is not just the statements themselves, but the meaning behind them.
“When we raise dollars, we value every penny. We want our donors to know that we are distributing their dollars in the most efficient and effective way possible,” Hoffman said. “We take very seriously our role as the stewards of the community trust. … We take our jobs seriously — and the community seriously.”

Mission Statement

The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore strengthens and nurtures Jewish life by engaging and supporting community partners in Greater Baltimore, in Israel and around the world.

Vision Statement

The Associated will secure the resources necessary to address the evolving landscape of Jewish life, ensuring a vibrant community for future generations.

Core Values

We transform these values into action:

One People/Am Echad — A commitment to Klal Yisrael, the link between Jewish people in Greater Baltimore, in Israel and around the world.

Repair The World/Tikkun Olam — Making a positive difference in the world through the pursuit of social justice.

Respect — A diverse Jewish community that is respectful, accessible and welcoming.

Education — Lifelong Jewish learning and experiences.

Engagement — Active participation of people in the many facets of Jewish life.

Innovation — Creative approaches to solving community issues.

Collaboration — A network of strong local and overseas partners thatprovides for the social service, cultural, health and educational needs of Jews in Greater Baltimore, in Israel and throughout the world.

Did you know?

The Associated has 10,000 donors.
Source: Michael Hoffman

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