East Bay federation zooms past fundraising goals with Alight

A recently concluded 100-day fundraising and awareness campaign by the Jewish Federation of the East Bay — which used an innovative storytelling approach — surpassed its fundraising goal by more than $250,000, according to federation officials.

Good Deeds Day: Organizers Mollie Breger (left) and Jessi Norris photos/courtesy jewish federation of the east bay

The campaign, dubbed “Alight 100: One hundred days of giving back,” highlighted a different personal story every week from members of the local Jewish community and beyond who have benefited from the federation.

The stories were sent to the federation’s email subscribers weekly and published in print ads in J.

The campaign was based on a similar storytelling initiative by the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County, New Jersey; federations in Las Vegas and Silicon Valley also adopted the model, according to Benjamin Sisson, the East Bay federation’s director of marketing and communications.

Alight 100 launched on Dec. 4, passed the $1.5 million mark with more than 25 days remaining, and concluded March 15 with a community volunteer effort, Good Deeds Day. The campaign ended up raising $1,775,705 from 1,047 donors.

“Our goals were to raise $1.5 million and to bring in gifts from 1,000 donors and 100 new donors,” said Rabbi James Brandt, CEO of the Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Foundation  of the East Bay. “We exceeded all of those goals.”

The first-person stories shared included an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor who gets financial assistance from a federation-funded program, a mother with young children who receive books from the PJ Library program and an Israeli high school student who goes to an after-school program that the federation supports.

Sarah Gold and son Max working on the Shalom Bayit project

Alight 100 is part of the federation’s larger annual campaign, which is aiming for a $3 million total by the end of June. It is also part of a larger, yearlong initiative called “Alight” that includes a social fundraising component and a community trip to Israel.

“Alight: Your Story,” set to begin next month, invites community members to raise money for federation by creating fundraising pages that reach out to their social networks.

“Alight: Israel,” a trip to the Jewish state that includes up to five customized excursions each day, is set for April 19-28. For more information, visit www.jfed.org/israel2015 or call (510) 809-4953.

Drew Himmelstein
Drew Himmelstein

Drew Himmelstein is a former J. reporter who writes about education, families and Jewish life. She lives with her husband and two sons.