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Message From Our CEO – Forward from a Phenomenal Year

With our new season beginning and a New Year on the horizon, I’m glad to restart my CEO Message. I’m looking forward to sharing news and perspectives with you again after a very busy hiatus. And I’m proud to tell you that our busy 2015-16 season led our Federation to some great accomplishments on behalf of our community.

We’ve just closed our Federation’s largest Annual Campaign in years, at more than $15 million. With creativity and perseverance, our campaign leadership keeps reaching farther into the community - so we’re able to do even more for those who depend on us

Meanwhile, our Jacobson Jewish Community Foundation’s assets now approach $80 million. And last year we made great strides in building our larger Jewish community’s future. Our Create a Jewish Legacy program, in only its first year of partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s LIFE & LEGACY™ initiative, helped 14 of our synagogues, agencies and schools as well as our Federation to secure $33.2 million in declared planned gifts. Clearly our Foundation is on a roll, with the continued leadership of its Chair Richard Steinberg and Sr. VP Cathrine Schwartz, along with their dedicated lay and professional team.

Most noticeable among last year’s achievements has to be the crown jewel that welcomes people entering our 100-acre campus from 95th Avenue South. Early in 2016, we welcomed our new neighbors to Sinai Residences of Boca Raton, our project to offer state-of-the-art senior living while generating funds to support Federation’s vital work.

The campus buzzes with activity as the students settle into their new school year around us. And another sign of the new season is that in a couple of days I’ll be headed to Washington, DC with 50 of our community’s brightest, most caring and dedicated women, for the biennial International Lion of Judah Conference.

At the conference, our own Emily Grabelsky will receive the prestigious Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award. When I say that honoring Emily will be the greatest joy of our time together, I know I speak for our Board Chair Anne Jacobson, Women’s Philanthropy Chair April Leavy and her devoted team, Executive VP Marla Weiss Egers and other key staff joining us, as well as folks throughout our Jewish community and beyond. A past Women’s Philanthropy Chair, Emily’s wise and skilled leadership continues to be integral to our Federation in philanthropy and governance and, throughout the community, in special needs programming and advocacy. Our community is and continues to become far stronger for Emily’s efforts.

Getting back to our campus, I wonder if you know just how much good goes on here every day, year-round. I invite – actually, I urge you – to join a campus tour to find out. Scheduled throughout the year, the next tour will be on November 1.

And, as always, I look forward to your thoughts on continuing to build and strengthen our community. Just get in touch at asktheceo@bocafed.org.

Shabbat shalom,

Matthew Levin
President & CEO