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JUF Letter to Donors

JUF Letter to Donors

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Published by slurie4723
Letter sent from JUF to donors/parents on mailing list. Dated: April 12, 2012.
Letter sent from JUF to donors/parents on mailing list. Dated: April 12, 2012.

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Published by: slurie4723 on Apr 19, 2012
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Continuity Amidst Change at The University of Chicago's Newberger Hillel: A Note to Our Generous Contributors
  As a generous supporter of the Newberger Hillel Center at the University of Chicago, we know you are deeply interested in recent events, their impact onstudents and Hillel's operations, and our plans for the future. We seek toprovide you with what we believe to be essential background information, andto assure you that the future of Newberger Hillel is bright. The future of allJewish students and of the 17 Hillels throughout Illinois remains a topFederation priority.First we want you to understand what happened. A number of difficultbudgetary and governance issues emerged between the Jewish Federation, onthe one hand, and its advisory committee and executive director at theNewberger Hillel program at the University of Chicago, on the other. I wasasked by JUF/JF Board Chairman Skip Schrayer to work to resolve thesematters. After months of negotiations the advisory committee issued anultimatum calling on the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago to turn over ownership of the building and management of the Hillel program to them. If Federation chose not to do so, the advisory committee and who they referred toas "our executive director" (he was in fact a Federation employee) wouldestablish a "new entity at a different location and with a different name." Theyindicated that they had undertaken a "two-year long process of study anddeliberation" concerning the feasibility of creating a separate entity. DespiteFederation's request that they stay a part of the Federation's state-widenetwork of 17 Hillels, they announced their decision to separate. With regretFederation accepted the reality that the advisory committee and executive
Federation accepted the reality that the advisory committee and executivedirector no longer desired to be associated with Federation or with Newberger Hillel.Despite Federation more than doubling the annual financial support to theNewberger Hillel over the past decade, their annual budgets deficits averaged
$100,000. These deficits were covered by Federation at the expense of other 
Hillels and other health and human services programs locally and in Israel.Federation funding of Newberger Hillel, compared per student to other Hillels inIllinois, is more than double that of Northwestern and over four times that of theUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. As you may be aware, the lead gift for the University of Chicago Hillel buildingcame to the Federation with the stipulation that it be owned and operated bythe Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. Federation has a sacred trustto you, our donors, and to those the Federation serves - students on other campuses, children, and the elderly - requiring that these budgetary issues beaddressed. We want to assure you that the Federation will restore Newberger Hillel to fiscal health not by decreasing the allocation, but rather throughbudgetary discipline and enhanced fundraising, an endeavor we hope you willsupport. The program will be guided by the professional staff at Newberger andthe Jewish students who are active at Hillel. A new volunteer advisorycommittee is being formed, and will include students, faculty, donors, andothers passionate about Jewish student life.Today we are experiencing a challenging but effective transition. Rabbi PaulSaiger - a U of C alum, former executive director of The Hillels of Illinois, and aHillel professional at the universities of Michigan, Missouri and Rochester - isserving as the interim executive director of the Newberger Hillel. Amidst thechange in professional and volunteer leadership, the Newberger Hillelcontinues its decades-long tradition of enriching Jewish campus life. Just thisweek it assisted student-led Passover Seders and provided meals to studentsduring the holiday while also running its ongoing, innovative programs.Beyond annual support of almost $500,000, Federation maintains the

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