Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Richard Lewis Set to Take to the UJA Stage
Comic will Headline Campaign 2012 Closing Celebration on February 9th
The closing celebration for UJA Campaign 2012 features comedian Richard Lewis, who is recognizable to both younger and older generations as a regular on “Curb your Enthusiasm,” the hit HBO show that transcends traditional demographic boundaries. Indeed, a headliner who appeals to a wide cross-section of the Jewish community seems fitting for the final keystone event of Campaign 2012.
Uniting the many disparate groups that make up Jewish Toronto has been a primary focus of Campaign 2012. This motive underpinned the “Jewish Toronto Lives Here” campaign, which saw blue pushpin signs deployed along a wide swath of Bathurst Street, showing the Jewish community in a very explicit way the numerous agencies and programs that UJA supports. The message was clear: the strength of Jewish Toronto and UJA are synonymous, UJA binds our diverse community together and a strong communal fund is vital to ensuring that greater Toronto is one of the great Jewish communities of the world.
The closing event on February 9th caps off a campaign that is notable for its fundraising focus and many successful events, including several well-received divisional events. UJA Campaign 2012 got off to a rousing start in August with the launch at the Sony Centre featuring Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander, which drew a record crowd of 2,000. This event helped set a positive tone for the campaign, which has seen many donors increase their gifts pushing Campaign 2012 ahead of last year’s pace.
Reflecting on the events that marked UJA Campaign 2012, Campaign Chair Barbara Bank said the launch is the one event that meant the most to her.
“It was our first opportunity to see hundreds of people from all facets of the community come together to celebrate the strength of Jewish Toronto through the work of UJA,” she said.
The Major Gifts Gala on November 13th was another memorable event, one that held a strong significance for Campaign Chair Gilbert Palter.
“We had a record turnout for our new format event, including both long-time attendees and first-time attendees. After almost a year of refining, Barbara and I had finally really nailed our comprehensive messaging about the breadth of what UJA does, and why it is so vitally important to our community. We received many, many comments from people who really appreciated how informative we were, which was our primary objective for this campaign,” he said.
UJA Campaign 2012 also saw the growth and development of nascent divisions, including the York Region Cabinet and Israeli division, which both grew in numbers and held many well-attended events. Reaching out to these communities was another objective of Campaign 2012, and continuing to do so is an important piece of advice that Barbara says she would pass on to the chairs of next year’s campaign.
“I advise them to continue to broaden the donor base by reaching out to those in our community who may not feel fully part of the community but should - Israelis, Jews from the former Soviet Union and those in the 905 area,” she said, adding she would also advise next year's chairs to “keep stressing the Back to Basics approach of Campaign 2012 with its clear message of the breadth and effectiveness of what UJA does and that we all benefit from a strong annual UJA campaign.”
Gilbert has an interesting piece of advice for next year’s Campaign chairs: “Don’t make raising money your prime objective,” he said. “Continue Barbara’s and my primary objective of communicating what UJA does and why it is essential to maintain Toronto’s Diaspora-leading Jewish community. Focus on messaging to both existing and new (especially amongst communities like Jews from the former Soviet Union, Israelis and others in 905 that have not historically been engaged) donors, and the money will follow in due course.”
It’s been a busy Campaign year and it’s not over yet. With the campaign closing event on February 9th along with new events like UJA’s SMASH ping pong tournament to raise money to send underprivileged Jewish kids to Jewish summer camp on March 1st, and UJA cornerstone events like the May 21st Walk with Israel still to come, it will be anything but quiet as Campaign 2012 winds down.