A personal message from Ted Sokolsky

This past September I informed my leadership team and our Board of Directors of my long held plans to retire from Federation when I turn 65 in 2016. That year will mark my 30th year at Federation and my 13th year as CEO.  

To ensure that transition is effective  we will formally begin a search for my successor starting in 2014 with the goal of having the successful candidate on board by our next annual meeting in late November 2014.  

I will stay on to work with the new CEO and focus on our fundraising efforts for the subsequent next number of years.  

With all that in context, I wanted to share what I believe we all can achieve together to help maintain and grow this treasure of a Jewish community here in Toronto.  

The Federation has a huge and daunting agenda ahead in the year to come just to continue to deliver on the promises and commitments we have undertaken to date.  In order to do that, we must redouble our efforts to:  

▪ Complete the capital fundraising for Lebovic Campus (which has been a huge success where we are aiming for 10,000 members at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre already by the end of 2015!)  

▪ Continue planning and developing for the next phase of Sherman Campus with the aim of getting into the ground by the end of 2014  

▪ Grow our annual campaign at an ever stronger pace to meet the needs and requirements of an expanding community  

▪ Raise additional supplement funds to overcome our accumulated debt that has grown during these  challenging years  

▪ Restructure our internal operations to create greater efficiencies and focus for this Federation  All of these will require tapping into the tremendous strength we have come to count on in the wonderful partnership between lay and professional leadership here at Federation.  

But beyond completing these exciting goals we set for ourselves a little over 10 years ago, it's time again to start dreaming about the community we want for the next 10, 20 and 30 years.  If there is anything we have learned from our fellow Jewish communities in the US particularly in light of the Pew Report, it is that you can never rest on your laurels and you can never stop tapping into the passions of the next generation.  

We have to start dreaming anew about an even stronger Jewish community here in Toronto---a community that continues to be a beacon for Jewish communities around the world.  Essential to that strength will no doubt be our ever-strengthening ties to Israel and to the importance of Jewish identity for the next generation.  But what is most important in the decade ahead, will be to reignite a sense of mission, ownership and passion across this great community.  

It is up to Federation to be a catalyst for this reinvigoration of ownership and commitment.  It means building on a revitalized coalition of stakeholders of volunteers, donors, synagogues, schools and organizations particularly in York Region and the Downtown core where our population growth is most prevalent.  A new generation of community leaders, philanthropists and professionals must answer the call for leadership in a Jewish world that demands relevance and meaning if we are to succeed in the years ahead.

I can't think of a community more ready to take of this challenge and I can't think of better organization than UJA Federation of Greater Toronto to help lead that charge.  

All the best,  Ted

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