By KATHY CARLSON
Want to be a philanthropist but need an efficient way to find encouragement and learn how?
It’s easier than ever these days at the Jewish Federation of Nashville through its newly organized total financial resource development (TFRD) department, which offers convenience to donors wanting to ensure our community’s future.
“The TFRD department is responsible for securing the resources necessary to create a vibrant Jewish community in Nashville as well as serve the needs of at-risk Jews in Israel and in 70 countries around the globe,” says Naomi Limor Sedek, the Federation’s assistant executive director. She leads the department, which places short- and long-term fund-raising activities under one umbrella.
Here’s some fund-raising background. Each year’s Federation Annual Campaign raises funds for the coming budget year, a short-term funding effort.
Under the leadership of Frank Boehm as the 2017 annual campaign chair, and the generous contributions from community members, the Jewish Federation provided 5 percent more in grants than from the 2016 annual campaign. The grants make possible many community programs, including Shalom Taxi for seniors and PJ Library for youngsters. Each year the needs always increase and the Federation is poised to be able to raise even more annual funds under the leadership of Fred Zimmerman, 2018 Jewish Federation annual campaign chair.
For the longer term, the Jewish Foundation has been the endowment arm of the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. It holds the income-producing assets that will allow this community to be stable long into the future, Sedek says. The Federation and Foundation offer a variety of estate-planning and charitable giving opportunities to enable donors to meet their individual financial and estate-planning needs, realize their philanthropic dreams and create a legacy for our Jewish future.
In addition, the Federation and Foundation, along with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, are collaborating on the LIFE & LEGACY program, which establishes a community-wide legacy giving program. [See separate article]
The TFRD department includes Joel Abramson, Andrea Crowe, Shannon Small and Naomi Limor Sedek. Norma Shirk, LIFE & LEGACY associate, is responsible for that program’s administration and her work relates to that of the TFRD team and its overall goals.
These professionals include both new faces and familiar ones.
Joel Abramson returns to Nashville after earning Master of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees in Brandeis University’s Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. For the past year he worked with the Jewish Federation of Atlanta as a development officer. Before studying at Brandeis, Abramson was the Nashville Federation’s community engagement associate, developing programs for young adults.
“The nice thing about being a financial resource department: We are here to help our donors accomplish their philanthropic goals and we have a variety of philanthropic vehicles to help them,” Abramson says. “We want to build strong relationships with donors. Our goal is to make sure they feel good about their donations (and what their dollars are doing) here, in Israel and around the world.”
“It’s about them – the donors intent and wishes – and (making) their desires a reality.”
Andrea Crowe is the Federation’s donor center manager. Her background is in customer service, development, financial and analytical reporting, sales, marketing and office management. She has previously worked in development and database management at Nashville CARES, Resource Center in Dallas, as well as the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center.
As donor center manager, Andrea is responsible for maintaining our community donor records as well as Jewish Federation communications. She is the liaison between the TFRD staff and community campaign volunteers.
Shannon Small comes to Nashville from Syracuse, N.Y., where she was education director for both Temple Adath Yeshurun Religious School and Syracuse Community Hebrew School. She believes that a collaborative and unified Jewish community motivated by common goals is a stronger Jewish community.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southwestern University in Central Texas. She then completed her master’s degree in community counseling and a certificate of advanced study in school counseling from Syracuse University.
Small is originally from Houston, where her grandfather, Milton Levit, was a president of that city’s Jewish Federation. Her grandmother and parents also were active in Federation and the Jewish community.
“I’ve been around philanthropy my entire life,” she says. “For me it’s about securing the future of the Jewish community. … That was instilled in me my entire life. To have the opportunity to secure the future that I want and many people want is an exciting opportunity for me.
Norma Shirk, LIFE & LEGACY associate, is responsible for administering the program.
“I’ve served on the board of several nonprofits over the years and have participated in many fundraisers as a volunteer,” she says. “But I’ve never been involved with planning or coordinating a philanthropic effort like the LIFE & LEGACY program. … I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn so much about Jewish philanthropy and the wonderful programs in the Jewish community that are supported by it.
“…My primary goal is to be a resource to help the 13 teams participating in the LIFE & LEGACY program. … I’ve met so many interesting people who are committed to helping the local Jewish community and, more generally, the Nashville area.”
Naomi Limor Sedek was the Jewish Federation of Nashville’s campaign director and missions director before assuming her current position of assistant executive director. She first joined the Nashville Federation in 1996 as campaign associate and has held a variety of positions, all with the goal of enhancing and building her community through development.
Sedek earned her bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from Brandeis University, including a year of study at Hebrew University. She is enrolled in the Executive MBA program at Vanderbilt University and received a Forte Fellowship for Women.
“Anyone in this community can be a Jewish philanthropist,” she says. “If you believe in a Jewish future, reach out to one of us. We will help you realize your philanthropic goals and dreams, help you identify needs locally, in Israel and in countries around the world that can use you help. Just call on me, Joel or Shannon, at the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation, the center for your Jewish philanthropy.” •