On many occasions throughout June, I had the privilege of representing The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore at annual meetings for a number of local agencies within our system. As chair of the board of The Associated, I brought messages of praise and support for the agencies that deliver the critical programs and services that sustain our community.
One theme that consistently emerged in my greetings at these meetings was the importance of partnership. Indeed, the relationship The Associated has with its agencies exemplifies the power of a strong partnership and all that can be achieved when parties cooperate toward a common goal. As the central fundraising and planning arm of the Jewish community, The Associated relies on a number of partnerships to maintain the strength of a federation system that dates back more than 90 years.
Whether it is local, state or federal government entities, foundations or other organizations, The Associated brings together like-minded parties to serve the needs of our community today and plan for a bright tomorrow. Our community boasts a diverse Jewish population, all of whom are able to collaborate for the greater good under the auspices of The Associated system.
Likewise, our community enjoys close relationships with our sister cities in Israel and the Former Soviet Union and fosters meaningful people-to-people connections with those communities. This year marks the 10th ann- iversary of the Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership — the perfect example of the power of partnership. Based on shared values and rooted in the tenet that we are all part of a global Jewish family, this relationship provides both communities with meaningful experiences and opportunities for growth.
The Associated is the only federation in North America that maintains a centralized fundraising and planning system, and our community is enriched by that model. In Baltimore, this system fosters an environment of cooperation, not competition. Our local agencies are able to work together on programming and services instead of vying for funds from the community.
This atmosphere of cooperation extends to the donors and volunteers who support our community. The relationships that exist between our Jewish communal professionals and our volunteer leadership are unparalleled. When I speak about our community to my colleagues in other cities, I always tell them that it is the passion and commitment of our volunteer leaders that sets Baltimore apart from our peers. My professional partner, Marc B. Terrill, president of The Associated, calls this the “secret sauce” in Baltimore’s recipe for success.
At this time of year, we bid goodbye to the volunteer leaders whose terms have ended and welcome a new cadre of community members eager to play their part. As part of The Associated system, these volunteers benefit from outstanding leadership training, and many go on to serve in key leadership roles on a national level.
We have much to be proud of in Jewish Baltimore. We have a shared commitment to the strength of our community today and to the vibrancy of tomorrow. We have exemplary agencies that are able to work together in innovative ways to tackle challenges facing Jewish Baltimore. We have partners in local and federal government who share our values and value the work we do. Together, all these powerful partnerships enable us to build and sustain a truly inspiring community.
Howard E. Friedman is chair of the board of The Associated: Jewish Community
Federation of Baltimore.