Two weeks ago, I took part in visits to three Jewish agencies – Kline Galland, Holocaust Center for Humanity, and Jewish Family Service – that the Federation sponsored to show elected officials the impact of public funding, including funding they have helped to secure for the organizations. Giving our elected representatives a first-hand look at the incredible work these agencies do drives home the value of the investment the Federation makes in advocating for Jewish organizations in Olympia and gaining legislative support for funding and policies they need to carry out their work. Advocacy is a core part of our mission to serve as a community voice.
At the end of the day, it was clear that state legislators, city and county council members, and their staff who joined us for the tour came away with a real appreciation for how well Puget Sound and beyond is served by all three organizations. For the leaders of the agencies, the direct access for face-to-face conversation with elected decision-makers, facilitated by the Federation, was an invaluable opportunity to build closer working relationships. This is the basis for collaboratively addressing the complex challenges that come with delivering healthcare, ensuring the lessons of the Holocaust are never forgotten, helping vulnerable families, and carrying out the many other services that Jewish organizations provide.
The outcome of the visits was a direct consequence of the Federation’s work creating collaborative relationships with our partner organizations and government decision-makers, which are critical for successful advocacy. Impressed with the work of these three agencies and equipped with a deeper understanding of their impact, elected officials seeking to do more to help them have each followed up to learn more from the Kline, Holocaust Center, and JFS on pressing issues such as Medicaid reimbursement, anti-bias education, and food insecurity.
As Washington State Rep. Vandana Slatter said after the Holocaust Center visit, “Very powerful! Adults as well as kids should be seeing this. We must take this opportunity to educate and build understanding.”
With our community growing at a fast clip, the Federation will continue advocating, in Olympia and Washington, DC, for services benefiting Jewish Puget Sound. It is vital work grounded in Jewish values – speaking up for the voiceless, repairing our world, helping those in need, and pursuing justice.
Effective advocacy requires achieving common understandings. Thanks to the relationships we have thoughtfully cultivated, the Federation made significant progress for Jewish Puget Sound this year on funding for programs to fight anti-Semitism and hate, expanding services for people in need, and a great deal more that you can read about here.
Serving as a community voice is one of three pillars in Federation’s mission, which also includes strengthening connections with Israel and World Jewry and making investments in Jewish life for today and the next generation. Our accomplishments in these areas during this past year are really your accomplishments – the impact you make whenever you give your time and resources for the betterment of our community.
As we quickly approach the end of our fiscal year on June 30, we are looking ahead and making plans to build on this year’s momentum and impact. If you haven’t done so already, I hope we can count on you through a gift to the Federation. We need YOU to make our work possible. YOU make a huge difference and for that we are very grateful. Thank you!