Home Federation Knowing Why!

Knowing Why!


By Daniel Staffenberg, CEO,

Jewish Community Federation of Richmond

Federation is a big idea.

The idea that an organization convenes, identifies, and addresses the greatest challenges and opportunities of our Jewish world is not always easy to understand or explain.

The list of things Federation does is long, encompassing hundreds of local programs, millions in support for agencies and initiatives and social service and engagement programs in over 70 countries worldwide through a network of partners.

For many it is this complexity that provides comfort in knowing that our system is able to respond efficiently and effectively and for others it’s a jumble of words, and acronyms.


Communicating the Why of Federation is one of our challenges, especially as w=our diverse interests and focus also come into play. The Why of our Federation is because we know that there are hungry, sick and elderly Jews who need our care wherever they are in the world. The Why is to bring together our community to advocate for the vulnerable and fight for social justice. The Why is also the investment of significant resources in preventing, preparing for, and responding to potential security threats to our community. And the Why is so that every Jew has a place, feels welcome and is connected.

These have been our Why for generations. We built this Jewish community and have been at its center for over 88 years. As the Federation of today, we are the one Jewish organization in Greater Richmond that is as focused on the future as much as the now.

We look at the 35,000-foot view required to plan for tomorrow and the hands-on day to day work that makes it possible for us to care for our community today.

We do this in collaboration with our organizational partners and our most committed leaders and donors, bringing together thousands of people to make it all happen.

As a result, our work is strategic, impactful, and inspiring. We focus on the Jewish Community throughout Greater Richmond – from the Museum District to Glen Allen, to Short Pump, to Northside, to Mechanicsville, to Midlothian, to Manakin-Sabot and all other areas  – while also serving a global Jewish mission, doing essential work in Israel and throughout the Jewish world.

The Federation has created the critical scale necessary to drive meaningful social change and provide relief in times of crisis in ways no one person or organization could do alone. As Jewish Richmond’s hub for innovative solutions and collaborative services, the Federation is able to change and improve lives.

Ultimately however, it’s not what we do but Why we do it – which is to create the kind of enduring Jewish community we all want and need, based on shared goals and Jewish values.

We do this work because of all of these goals and we can’t do any of it without you! As we launch a new year and another Community Campaign to address the needs of our world I do hope you will join us by giving. You see, it’s times like these that Federation was built for.

To learn more about our work and see Why…visit us at Jewishrichmond.org .