Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

JNF finishes with largest campaign in its history


With the close of its campaign year, Jewish National Fund just announced that its annual 2013 campaign topped $121 million, the largest campaign in its history. In addition to a strong annual campaign, JNF is the recipient of an estate gift of more than $60 million from the estate of John Boruchin, perhaps the most significant gift in the 112-year history of the organization.

The announcements catapult JNF forward after 10 years of remarkable campaign achievements and tangible accomplishments in Israel that include adding 12 percent to Israel’s water economy, broadening the organization’s donor database to more than two million households, and developing the Negev Desert through Blueprint Negev for the next generation of Israel’s residents to call home. With the opening of the country’s largest amphitheater, an award-winning Pipes Bridge, the heritage site of Abraham’s Well, and the Be’er Sheva River Walk, JNF has transformed the desert city of Be’er Sheva from a dusty backwater into the true capital of the Negev. The Central Arava will soon be home to a state-of-the-art medical center, and JNF’s Housing Development Fund is facilitating the movement of population to the Negev, an imperative for Israel’s secure and lasting future. All this and more helps JNF chart its road map for the future, delivering bold and transformative solutions that work to secure a prosperous future for the land and people of Israel.

“John Boruchin had a long-time commitment to JNF—from childhood till death,” said JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson. “Over the years he funded water and Zionist education initiatives and our Blueprint Negev campaign. A self-made millionaire, he was impressed with JNF’s business model of innovation, vision and ingenuity. He saw us as we are—an organization of social entrepreneurs utilizing cutting-edge best practices to operate like a 21st century business. He challenged us to get others to follow his lead. Fifteen years ago he and his wife sat with Matt Bernstein, our chief planned giving officer, and said they wanted to take on bold initiatives that would connect children to Zionism and make Israel strong. They wanted to do it with JNF as they knew we would properly manage their money and their wishes. And so with this trust JNF will be establishing the JNF Center for Zionist Education and Advocacy in John’s name from which all our programs promoting Zionist education and advocacy will stem.”

The trust is not yet liquid; a Blue Ribbon committee of lay leaders under JNF President Jeffrey E. Levine, JNF Audit Co-Chair David Greenbaum, and Joseph Korn, JNF assistant vice president of Investments, will be mobilized to structure the trust’s use and monitor its investments to achieve the donor’s wishes.

“John’s love of Jabotinsky and the State of Israel was foremost in his mind throughout his life,” said Levine. “He believed with all his heart that he had to do everything to keep the land of Israel as the Jewish homeland. This trust is his lasting legacy and will help transform thousands of Jewish youth giving them a lasting connection to the land and people of Israel.”

“John was hoping to set a trend with this trust,” said Bernstein. “He really and truly loved Israel and hoped others will follow his lead and leave a lasting legacy through JNF.”

“This gift dovetails perfectly with our timeline and focus,” said Robinson. “As Israel and the American Jewish community face serious challenges in the decade ahead, we believe the spirit that has sustained JNF for the past 112 years is needed now more than ever. We are driven by a deep sense of purpose and responsibility at JNF and so we are undertaking an unprecedented $1 billion campaign over the next decade. We have already achieved so much: built 240 reservoirs, planted 250 million trees, built thousands of parks and recreations areas, preserved history with renovated Israel independence historical sites, refitted and modernized hundreds of firefighting units, and so much more. But there is more to do.The campaign—which takes us forward through Israel’s 75th jubilee—matches an ambitious financial target with a comprehensive strategic vision. JNF will connect American Jews to the people of Israel as never before and implement unique projects to strengthen Israel for the long-term.

“Through our work we will create transformative change on the ground and in our communities—both in Israel and here in America—keep John’s name alive forever, keep our donors’ trust, and keep Israel strong.”


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