Jewish Sightseeing HomePage Jewish Sightseeing
2005-09-28—Sharing the Wealth 
Harrison Weblog

2005 blog


UJF favors sharing the wealth in
San Diego's Jewish community

                                                            San Diego Jewish Times, September 28, 2005

By Donald H. Harrison

The United Jewish Federation of San Diego County has declared an end to fundraising “turf wars” that, in the past, have been the source of tension between the UJF and various Jewish agencies and organizations.

Michael Rassler, the UJF’s new executive vice president, cited the maxim that “givers give” to explain the turnaround in thinking.  He acknowledged that in the past, the Federation was reluctant to share donor information with other Jewish organizations, lest the donor’s affections—and contributions—be spirited away by those other organizations.

However, Rassler said, such concerns were unwarranted because they were based on a false assumption that donors are fickle. He suggested that it is far more likely that individual donors will continue to give at least at the same level to Federation, while also making an additional contribution to the other organization or agency. 

The Federation executive said donors appreciate the Federation being sensitive to their philanthropic desires and matching them with any of a variety of Jewish causes.

Besides “making shidduchs (matches)between donors and other Jewish agencies and organizations, Rassler said, the UJF also intends to engage in a range of collaborative efforts with  other Jewish organizations.

He noted during a recent interview that UJF is sending to e-mail subscribers a summary of Jewish events occurring throughout the Jewish community—whether those events are sponsored by the Federation, one of its five agencies (Lawrence Family JCC, Hillel, Jewish Family Service, Seacrest Village Retirement Communities, and the Agency for Jewish Education), or by Jewish schools, Jewish organizations, or synagogues.

The e-mail is innovative because it lists the various events under individual headlines and provides brief summaries along with links for further information. To receive this email, go to the Federation’s website at, and click on the “sign up” display.

Another project involves sending out postal mailings to Federation donors about various agencies.  For example, recently UJF sent to 2,500 donors a piece describing the history and programs of the Anti-Defamation League.  Morris Casuto, ADL director, hailed the era of cooperation among the Federation and the various agencies, saying it bodes well for the entire Jewish community.

Rassler said the Federation also is devising programs to help organizations improve their administrative structures and to develop leadership.  He said there are programs of this description underway with the House of Israel in Balboa Park, and with the Ken Jewish Community, the community center in Bonita that caters to Spanish-speaking Jews.

How effective will all this be—especially at a time when Federation’s own fundraising campaigns have been either stagnant or declining? 

Rassler answered that the only way to know for certain will be to measure the total contributions to Jewish causes and agencies in the county, to set that as a baseline, and then to see if that amount increases significantly after the program of donor sharing takes hold.  For the record, he is confident that there will be such increases during this era of cooperation..