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Column: Atlanta Jewish Federation campaign raises $15.4 million

By Maria Saporta
Friday, June 01, 2012

The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta is celebrating.

After five years of declining dollars coming into its annual campaign, the situation has turned around.

The Jewish Federation’s 2012 campaign has raised $15.4 million — about $720,000 more than the year before.

“We definitely needed to go back to basics,” said Cathy Selig, who chaired the annual campaign. “We needed to engage more people, educate donors and energize the community. We brought back some of the things that had worked before.”

The federation allocates its campaign funds to 17 affiliate agencies and partners, which includes more than 50 community organizations in Atlanta and Israel. The federation supports programs that provide transportation and home safety services for the elderly, job assistance and career counseling and scholarships for children attending Jewish day schools.
The campaign also provides food, clothing and comforts to people in need.

Selig said that her cabinet brought back several events, such as a campaign kickoff and receptions for major givers. It also was able to get two new donors to contribute at the $100,000 level.

“We just brought back the spirit of giving in the Jewish community,” Selig said. “We made every one feel good about what they were giving to.”

Last year, the campaign raised nearly $14.8 million. In 2010, it raised about $15.35 million; and in 2009, it raised $15.6 million. The campaigns between 2002 and 2008 raised between $16.5 million and $18.2 million with the high water mark being reached during the 2007 campaign.

Selig will be succeeded by Mark Rosenberg, managing director with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Atlanta. He will chair the 2013 campaign, which will begin on Sept. 1 of this year.

“It’s time for me to make a difference through my involvement with the federation and I think I can really help Jews in need,” Rosenberg said in a release. “I’d like to leave a positive impact and legacy for our community.”

The federation also has announced that Lois Kuniansky will serve as vice chair of the 2013 campaign, which puts her in line to chair the effort in 2014. Kuniansky has been on the federation’s board since 1992. She also has served as president of the board of the Epstein School.

Four Pillar Award

The prestigious 2012 Four Pillar Award will be given to former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition, on Oct. 4 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

The Council for Quality Growth has been giving the award for 23 years to leaders who stand for “quality, responsibility, vision and integrity.”

Recent award winners have included Charlie Loudermilk, Arthur Blank, Shirley Franklin, Tom Cousins, John Williams, Johnny Isakson and John Wieland.

“Mayor Massell’s life has been about public service and improving the quality of life in our region,” said Michael Paris, president and CEO of the Council. “We can thank him for the creation of MARTA and for polishing Buckhead to make it what it is today.”

During his tenure as mayor, Massell was instrumental in the passage of the MARTA Act. He also helped in the development of Atlanta’s Omni Coliseum, the former home of the Atlanta Hawks, and for the development of what is now Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta.

After leaving office, Massell has become known as the “Mayor of Buckhead.” He was the founding (and only) president of the Buckhead Coalition, which was established 25 years ago.

Wounded Warriors

The Shepherd Center is receiving a $100,000 grant from the Wounded Warrior Project. Shepherd started its SHARE (Shaping Hope and Recovery Excellence) Military Initiative in 2008 to provide rehabilitation care for service members who have sustained a spinal cord or traumatic brain injury while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Shepherd is one of only two civilian rehabilitation facilities in the nation to develop a separate and dedicated military patient program. “It has been an honor serving the men and women of our military,” said Gary Ulicny, president and CEO of Shepherd Center. “This grant from the Wounded Warrior Project will allow Shepherd Center to continue to help these heroes make a successful transition back to the community. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity.”

Fidelity’s Miller honored

Senior Connections, an organization dedicated to helping seniors “age in place,” will honor James B. “Jim” Miller, chairman and CEO of Fidelity Southern Corp., with its 2012 Community Connections Award at the fourth annual “Senior Prom” on Saturday, June 9.

“Jim Miller has been a community champion for many years in metro Atlanta and has partnered with local leaders to make a positive difference — especially in DeKalb County — in the lives of many,” said Debra Furtado

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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