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Jewish Federation looks ahead

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By Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — More than 100 residents of Hadera, a town of 80,000 people in central Israel, have died in 28 terrorist attacks in the last 18 months.

Paying for tighter security for families and children throughout Israel, target of more than 2,000 terrorist attacks in two years, is the goal of an emergency fund drive at the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte.

The drive, with a goal of $500,000, already has raised $440,000, part of $312 million raised in a national emergency drive by local members of New York-based United Jewish Communities, formerly the United Jewish Appeal.

In addition to the emergency drive, continuing through 2003, the Charlotte federation is gearing up for its 2003 annual drive and aims to raise more than the $2.51 million this year’s drive generated.

The federation also is gearing up for a long-term effort to build an unrestricted endowment of $40 million to $50 million through estate planning and deferred gifts.

All the fundraising efforts depend on one-on-one solicitations, says Randy Czarlinsky, the federation’s executive director.

“There’s no such word in Hebrew as ‘charity,’” says Czarlinsky, who joined the federation Dec. 31, 2001, after working for 11 years as director of community relations and government affairs for the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston.

“It’s one Jewish person talking to a second Jew to assist a third Jew,” he says, reflecting the Jewish tradition of “tzedakah,” which means “righteousness” or “justice.”

The annual drive will include personal visits to donors by volunteers in December, January and February, and a phone-a-thon March 9.

It also will include a major-gifts dinner Dec. 12 and an event Feb. 8 headlined by David Horovitz, editor of The Jerusalem Report, and featuring an exhibit of 700 works by 70 Israeli artists.

A big focus will be larger gifts. Donors who gave $10,000 or more accounted for more than half of last year’s drive.

They also are the heart of the emerging effort to create an endowment to help meet growing needs, Czarlinsky says.

A recently concluded $25 million campaign for Shalom Park, for example, will finance expansion of the 54-acre campus in South Charlotte that is home to the federation and other Jewish organizations. Construction, once completed, will generate new programs and initiatives needing additional financial support, Czarlinsky says.

The long-term effort would aim to pull together endowment drives by local Jewish congregations and other groups at Shalom Park, including the Jewish Community Center and Jewish Family Services. Helping to coordinate the various endowment efforts is the Foundation for the Charlotte Jewish Community, which has $14 million in assets and is housed at the Foundation for the Carolinas.

And with a Jewish community of roughly 14,000 people, Charlotte’s federation should raise its sights in future years and ultimately try to at least double its annual drive to $5 million, Czarlinsky says.

The key, he says, is “the outreach and effort to get people acquainted with what the Jewish community and federation are about.”

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