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2016-11-18 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


November 18, 2016  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Early Super Sunday generates more bang for the bucks

L to R, Federation fellow Jen Rosoff and Federation staffer Maxine Kaufman handwrite thank you notes during Super Sunday L to R, Federation fellow Jen Rosoff and Federation staffer Maxine Kaufman handwrite thank you notes during Super Sunday A change in Super Sunday dates for volunteers to seek donations to the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties’ Annual Campaign brought in a big increase in funds, Federation officials say.

Traditionally, federations around the country have held the phone-a-thon the week after the Super Bowl. Thus the name, Super Sunday. This time, instead of waiting until next February, the local Federation held the fundraising event on Sunday, Nov. 6 – two days before the presidential election.

In spite of many political robocalls going out that day that could have prompted some not to answer the phone, a group of 30 volunteers brought in pledges that exceeded their $100,000 goal and easily topped the $53,000 that came in from the previous Super Sunday.

“Some of our volunteers mentioned donors were so happy it wasn’t another political call,” said Jen Rosoff.

Volunteer Dawn Herkowitz decorates a challah cover during Super Sunday. Volunteer Dawn Herkowitz decorates a challah cover during Super Sunday. The change in Super Sunday dates made a big difference, said Emilie Socash, Federation executive director. “In years past, we’ve held Super Sunday in February when our campaign is well along and there are varying numbers of donors left to reach. Our last Super Sunday raised a remarkably low amount in pledges because we had already raised a remarkably high number of commitments in advance of that.”

Besides the benefits for raising more money early on in the Campaign, which officially opened Nov. 1, Socash said the Federation’s leadership felt it would “allow us to have meaningful conversations with some of our donors who often contribute by mail or online.”

There was another silver lining to the early Super Sunday start date, Socash explained: “We left many, many voicemails this year during the entire day, thanking donors for their past support. This resulted in us waking up Monday morning to a number of online and phone commitments made after Super Sunday closed, which we counted into the total as well ($40,000).”

A thermometer kept track of how much volunteers collected. A thermometer kept track of how much volunteers collected. With the Super Sunday related pledges, the Annual Campaign stands at $372,875. The projected goal for the entire Annual Campaign is $1.1 million, hopefully to be reached by February 2017.

Federation Director of Philanthropy Elana Gootson said they wanted to get started earlier this year in hopes of being able to better fund more federation programs.

The money raised during the Campaign goes to help those in need locally through Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services, funds popular programs like the PJ Library and Young Adult Division, supports organizations like Menorah Manor and Hillels of the Florida Suncoast and sends much needed aid to Israel and other places where Jews are in peril.

“The big deal this year were the large number of returning donors who had not, for whatever reason, made a commitment in the last campaign,” Socash said, noting that this time there were a total of 263 donors and 37 were new donors – either brand new or ones who did not give last year.

This year’s Super Sunday volunteers, as they have done often in the past, made calls from space in the Superior Uniform Group building in Seminole. The use of the building was donated by company owners, the Benstock family.

The call rooms were filled with the sounds of dialing phones while children played with plastic building blocks or busied themselves with coloring books.

One of the volunteers in attendance said that she “just wanted to help” after she saw a newspaper story about the event.

“That’s kind of my measure of our success,” said Socash, “when people get involved that are just community members and not directly connected with the Federation or any of its programs.”

One volunteer was able to snag a snazzy prize along with the good vibes of the day. Callers were offered a chance to win an Apple Watch if they encouraged donors to increase their contribution from the amount pledged the previous year. A lottery was held for those who achieved their goals and Vanessa Moore took home the watch.

For those who came out Sunday, making calls wasn’t the only option to help.

“It’s fun to come out to participate,” said Gootson. “People aren’t just collecting money. They also do projects and just support the Federation.”

Some volunteers chose to decorate challah covers for Holocaust survivors, supporting a program Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services has been running.

Others wrote thank you notes to campaign contributors. Helping out with all of it were the Fed Fellows.

“There are five of us,” said Rosoff. “We have committed to 100 hours of community service over the next 10 months. It’s a great way to be a part of what is happening in our community.”

The fellows will also be some of the beneficiaries of the Super Sunday drive. Their fellowship program culminates with an all-expenses paid trip to Israel in July, a first for three out of five of them.

To make a donation or find out about any of the programs offered by the Federation, call (727) 530- 3223 or email

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