Campaign Update - Farewell - July 31, 2014

Today is my last day here at the Federation and looking at the numbers, I feel pretty good. Believe it or not, it looks like we have a very good chance of going over $2,550,000 for the Annual Campaign. Once again, the campaign team, led by Sydney has a very strong finish. Considering the campaign took several big ‘hits’ this year, it’s something we can all be proud of. The Stop the Sirens Campaign is also in very good shape, though I wish we didn’t need to have one. As I write this,  over $60,000 has been raised in the last 2 weeks.

Soon after I arrived here in New Haven I remarked in one of my “Campaign Updates” how friendly  I found the people here, how people were always saying good morning and hello as I would walk in the door of the JCC. I still stand by those words. I am sadder about leaving the people I work with, both lay and professional, after two years here in New Haven than I was after eight years at the Stamford federation. Yes, I still live in Stamford, but I haven’t seen many of them since my life ‘moved’ up here. One thing I am not sad about is the 80 pounds I am leaving behind here. Because of my back injury, I was unable to participate in the Largest Loser program here at the JCC, so I just became a regular in the JCC Fitness Center and dieted and worked it off on my own. I am probably healthier, and definitely far more active, than I have ever been in my life.

There are a few people (I apologize to those I have not included)I would like to give a shout out form making these past two years special: Steve Glick (my campaign chair), Marc Wallman (P&A chair, who grew up in the same Forest Hills Jewish Center that I began in), the Cheshire crew (Barry Kelmachter, Gerry Barker, Deb Gaudette & Rabbi Whinston), Ed Sack (my Shoreline buddy), Dena Schulman-Green (who helped me in dealing with the issue of aging parents), the Hooses (Betsy – co-chaired the committee that brought me here & Jeffrey – who I originally wanted as my Campaign Chair), Leslie Zackin (she worked with Betsy in getting me here), some of the future leaders of this community (Meir Holtzberg, Scott Hurwitz, Bob Gould, just to name a few) and of course Mark Sklarz and Don Hendel (my two Presidents).

And then there is the staff here at the Federation and JCC. Where do I begin. The Campaign staff, Andy, Enid and Stacey, really put their hearts into making us the success we are (please help them out!). This past year I’ve been working very closely with Lynn Bullard (Yeladim) and Allan Greenberg (Everything Athletic) and their friendship has meant a great deal to me. Two years ago Lisa Stanger and I started working together on the Foundation's Create a Jewish Legacy program. With Lisa doing the bulk of the work, the program has led to over $4 million of Letters of Intent for our community’s synagogues and agencies! I am going to miss the other social worker on our staff, Scott Cohen. How Scott can retain his composure and even keel with all that goes on around here, I will never know, but he does. And last, but definitely not least, there is Sydney. This community has a very very special and valuable asset in her. It has been an honor to have worked with her and watched her walk through so many mine fields and still be left standing. I am going miss them all.

Some people have already asked me to include them in my future Friday Campaign Updates whenever they begin again. I’ve been writing these for almost 10 years, so I doubt if I am going to stop now. I hope that many of you will stay in contact. I am always available to talk about campaign issues, Israel and of course what is happening in our respective lives.

For those who are interested, my home e-mail address is: ggeller@optonline.net. Please stay in touch.

Kindest regards.

 

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