The Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix is back.

Although its work never went away – the annual Campaign for Jewish Needs, community planning and outreach have continued despite the end of the use of the federation name back in 2011 – the Jewish Community Association of Greater Phoenix is bringing back the federation brand to help alleviate confusion.

Stuart Wachs, JCA  president and CEO, made the official announcement at the JCA’s annual meeting on Oct. 29. “Just like we maintained the separate identity of the JCC, we are bringing back the separate, powerful identity of the federation.”

The JCA was formed in October 2011 when the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center board unanimously voted to join with the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix to become a single entity. The reason for this was “to create economies of scale and reduce overhead in the wake of a federation financial crisis that came to light in the fourth quarter of 2010,” according to an Oct. 28, 2011, Jewish News article.

The Association will essentially be the umbrella organization of the federation and the JCC, Wachs told Jewish News. “When we’re talking about the campaign work and the community planning and outreach, we will be using the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix.”

The JCC will continue to coordinate programming, he said, and the JCC and  JCA will continue to share back-office support, such as accounting, marketing and human resources.

Campaign for Jewish Needs

Funds from the 2014 Campaign for Jewish Needs will be distributed in a similar way to last year, Wachs said. The federation is going to continue to fund its strategic partners and school partners – last year, seven day schools received a total of $99,000 and six agencies received a total of $1,056,000. Wachs anticipates that the amounts will be similar again this year but the information will be reviewed to determine if any changes need to be made. “By and large, we’re going to maintain that fabric that takes care of basic needs in our community and also the larger core agencies that are doing engagement,” he said.

Twenty percent of the allocatable dollars will go toward Israel and overseas, with half to the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and half to Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), he said. Last year, they each received $125,000.

One change that will occur this year is with regard to funding local programs. “We’re narrowing our focus and we’re only going to be funding programs – either those we do ourselves or those by other organizations – that fit into those core impact areas of Israel advocacy, senior services and NowGen,” he explained. (NowGen are programs for young adults from post-college age through their early 40s.) These details are currently being finalized and he anticipates that grant applications will be available in the next two months and the grants announced in March or April 2015.

To date, the campaign has raised $2,381,000, which is $664,000 ahead of where they were at this time last year, Wachs said. The 2013 campaign raised $2.9 million in unrestricted core campaign giving (and another $338,208 in donor-designated gifts through a program that ended last year) and he anticipates that they will reach at least $3.2 million by the time the campaign ends on Dec. 31.

This amount does not include the $162,000 from the summer’s Stop the Sirens Israel emergency campaign or another $600,000 from six donors for capacity-building, he said.

The funds for capacity-building are being used in several ways, Wachs said, including “internal culture change to create the corporate culture we need,” reconfiguring the JCA offices to “increase work flow and creativity” and “a lot of things that were just neglected in both organizations,” including software, hardware, wiring, technology, initial salary offsets, as well as marketing of the campaign and marketing for the JCC. “None of this came out of any annual or operating donations that normally come through the federation or the JCC,” Wachs said.

Those six donors “have understood that both organizations are in a turnaround and are critically important and, as in any start-up or turnaround, there needs to be some initial investment for infrastructure and support.”

The federation projects that it will raise $5 million overall this year, Wachs said, due to a $1 million commitment that will be used as a challenge grant for a campus fund intended to build up reserve dollars for the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus.

More on the annual meeting

The Association’s annual meeting last week at the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus also included the presentation of the 2014 Medal of Honor to Shari Kanefsky, who is co-chairing the 2014 annual campaign with her husband, Irwin, and Alison Betts received the Lee Amada Young Leadership Award. The JCC’s Ometz Program, a camp for children with special needs, received the Belle Latchman Community Service Award.

Incoming chairs and officers were also announced at the meeting. Steven Schwarz is the incoming board chair, Esther and Don Schon will be the co-chairs of the 2015 annual Campaign for Jewish Needs and the 2015 Major Gifts Campaign chairs will be Cyndi Rosenthal, and Rachel and Jonathan Hoffer.

JFNA’s General Assembly

Next week, nine federation staff members and lay leaders will attend the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) General Assembly, which will be held Nov. 9-11 in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. Representatives from more than 150 North American federations are expected to attend, according to JTA.