Inspiring Community

December 18, 2013
BY Marc B. Terrill

2013ftv_terrillAt this time of year, fundraisers are extra busy encouraging people to make their contributions before Dec. 31. It adds an additional layer of hustle and bustle to a role that is already somewhat challenging.

But, when you are a fundraiser — either as a professional or a volunteer — and you believe very deeply in the organization you represent, it is much easier to ask other members of the community to do their part too.

As president of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, I have countless conversations all year about the importance of The Associated in Jewish Baltimore and the wide-reaching impact of a single gift to The Associated.

When I ask someone to support our community through The Associated, I draw my inspiration from the many people I see who directly benefit from the critical work of The Associated agencies and programs.  These programs are enhanced by The Associated’s Annual Campaign.

I think about the members of our Russian-speaking community whose families were helped 25 years ago as they settled into life in Baltimore, where they discovered their Jewish identities and today are giving back as leaders in our community.

I think about the students with learning differences in area day schools who are now able to fully participate in Jewish education because they are receiving the educational support they need from Shemesh.

I think about the older adults who are tending to a community garden at CHAI’s Weinberg Village with help from the Pearlstone Center and the Jewish Community Center and the sense of fulfillment they experience through this project.

I think about the families with young children who are receiving the beautiful books provided by PJ Library through the Macks Center for Jewish Education and the exciting programs these families enjoy together.

I think about the people who have lost their jobs and have benefited from both career counselors and financial assistance through Jewish Community Services.

I think about the individuals whose lives have been shattered by abuse and who are guided on a path toward healing by the volunteers and professionals at CHANA.

I think about the thousands of students connecting to each other for Shabbat dinner and Jewish holidays through Hillel at our area colleges and those discovering the majesty of Israel on a Birthright trip.

I think about the new immigrants in our sister city of Ashkelon whose dreams of freedom are being realized in Israel.

And I think about the thousands of Jews who survived the Holocaust and now live in isolation in the Former Soviet Union. Were it not for our community, which provides home visits and food, they would literally waste away in their desolate homes.

It is very easy at this time of year to get overwhelmed. But I choose to view this as a time of reflection and celebration of all we have accomplished in the past year. In the fall, The Associated began using the tagline, Inspiring Jewish Community. This reflects who we are and what we want for Jewish Baltimore, both to inspire and to beinspirational to all who get involved as volunteers, donors or recipients of services made possible by The Associated.

Thank you to this incredible community for knowing that things don’t just happen. They happen because we collectively dedicate ourselves to making it so.

Marc B. Terrill is president of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. To get involved with The Associated, visit associated.org.

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