The BJF is implementing a unique inter-generational model for our campaign structure this year, with longtime community volunteer leaders Jerry and Ginger Held serving as chairs, and their children Layne, Brian, and Elisa as well as Brian's wife Katie and Elisa's husband Aaron serving as co-chairs.
Along with Richard, and BJF Director of Operations Lauren Klinner, I have had the opportunity to work closely with Jerry and Ginger as we laid the groundwork for the campaign over the past few months. They are enthusiastic and passionate about The BJF and our Jewish community. They are committed leaders of our campaign team, and they truly believe in the work The BJF does everyday in so many ways.
I have enjoyed spending time with Jerry and Ginger, but it also has been a pleasure working with Layne, Brian, Elisa, Katie and Aaron. Our inter-generational model reflects The BJF's commitment to engaging young people to ensure a bright future for our Jewish community and is part of the "New Faces, New Ideas," theme that BJF President Jimmy Filler has made a focal point of his presidency.
All five of our campaign co-chairs have already started to play important roles in the campaign by reaching out to their peers and engaging in discussions about The BJF and the 2013 campaign. They are educating those who have never given to The Federation before and encouraging others to give at a higher level.
There is another reason that I am excited about this groundbreaking campaign. Last year, a wonderful donor offered a $100,000 challenge gift if The BJF could secure 1,000 new gifts or increases of $100 or more.
This challenge inspired Operation Grassroots, and by the end of the 2012 campaign, we had received just over 500 of these commitments, enabling us to secure $50,000 of the $100,000 challenge gift. Impressed by our Federation's efforts, this donor agreed to make the $50,000 available to the 2013 campaign -- for a new venture known as Grassroots 2.0. Grassroots 2.0 will require us to raise 20 gifts or increases of at least $2500 to receive the remaining $50,000.
Jerry and Ginger have already begun working on the Grassroots 2.0 effort, and we have received four increases of $2,500 or more, and one new gift of $3,000. The responses from our donors have been great. "We are very happy to contribute to the campaign and are very proud of your efforts," wrote one contributor, a close friend of the Helds. "We would like to help you achieve your goal of 20 gifts increasing by $2,500."
When I discuss this campaign, I find myself thinking of the Passover Seder, where Jews thank God for the many miracles that led our people out of slavery in Egypt to our home in the Land of Israel. After reciting each miracle, we say the Hebrew word "dayenu" signifying that each individual miracle alone would have been enough.
The opportunity to help raise money for an organization that does so much good for so many people at home and abroad alone would have been enough to make me very thankful. Being able to do so in a city that I love and that I've always called home, certainly would have been enough.
I am additionally fortunate, however, to be working on a campaign that is very special for many other reasons. I am thankful to be able to work with a phenomenal family as volunteer leaders, as well as an amazing staff at The BJF. In addition, I am thankful for the continued support of the donor who is making Grassroots 2.0 possible.
All of these things alone would have been enough, but I am most thankful for the opportunity to interact with The BJF's many generous donors who make all we do possible. As we prepare for the coming months and look forward to support from both longtime contributors and those just learning about our Federation, I am constantly reminded that they are the inspiration behind this holy work. I thank you all in advance for your generous support of this special campaign.