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JTA highlights Hillel at 85

by Anonymous |Jun 09, 2009|Comments

JTA: The Global News Service of the Jewish People

Wanted: Fund-raising ideas

By Jacob Berkman June 7, 2009

Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, for instance, has dropped its annual New York gala, opting instead for an international "virtual gala" that it hopes will open fund-raising avenues to lower-level givers.

In lieu of gathering several hundred people in New York to buy expensive tickets and pay for expensive ads in a journal, Hillel has offered the opportunity for anyone -- rich or not -- to hold a house party anywhere in the world on June 14 in celebration of the organization's 85th birthday.

At two points during the day, Hillel officials will webcast short addresses that can be viewed at the parties.

Last year's actual gala grossed $1.2 million, but the fund-raising goal for the virtual event is a more modest $850,000. Subtract the production cost of the real thing, allow for a natural attrition of donors because of the recession and the number for this year's falsie is respectable.

And while members of Hillel's board of governors have committed to raise at least $15,000 at their individual parties, each chapter of the AEPi fraternity has pledged to bring in $85 at its party to go to the Hillel International Center. In total the fraternity hopes to raise $16,000.

"Hillel has always been a grass-roots, bottom-up organization where individuals on campuses had formed Hillel houses and then became part of the network," said the organization's vice president for marketing, Jeff Rubin. This plan, he added, is an attempt to re-energize the grass roots by including anyone anywhere.

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