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Planks. Crunches. L-sits. Gyms are filled these days with people working on core exercises like these. They recognize that the core is key to balance and stability. Jewish Federation of St. Louis is also using core development to strengthen our commitment to you. We call them our four Core Commitments. You may have seen them before, but like all exercises they gain strength through repetition.

Here they are:

  • Expand and strengthen an engaged, vibrant, and flourishing St. Louis Jewish community
  • Secure the well-being and safety of individuals within the Jewish community
  • Strengthen our connection to Israel and the Jewish people worldwide
  • Develop the financial and human resources, and infrastructure, needed by our community

These are key for our organization because they focus our attention and guide all our work. We have long had a mission to “mobilize the Jewish community and its human and financial resources to preserve and enhance Jewish life in St. Louis, Israel, and around the world.” These four commitments bring greater clarity to our mission.

Look at those verbs: “expand,” “strengthen,” “secure,” and “develop.” This is what we are committed to: creating a Jewish Community that builds on the successes of the past and strives for a better future.

With the strategic direction of the Core Commitments established, the Board of Directors set out to establish priorities within each. Together, the Core Commitments and strategic priorities form the basis for continuous needs assessment, planning, and evaluation to inform funding priorities; all developed with community input.

With this process in place, we continue to strive toward our vision to have an engaged, vibrant, and flourishing St. Louis Jewish community where individuals live with meaning, dignity, and purpose, with a sense of belonging to the Jewish people.

We have just completed a very successful annual campaign. More than 4,500 of you have contributed more than $10 million to the work that we do. Now we have the responsibility to invest these dollars to fulfill these commitments to our Jewish community.

Over the next few months, you will hear more about the Core Commitments and the priorities the Board has set within them. It’s vital that this Strategic Plan not be an internal document. That is one reason it is available on our website for all to see.

By regularly reporting on the progress of our work, we invite you to help us find ways to achieve our mission, as well as hold us accountable if we are not staying focused on our core.

Core Commitment #1


Expand and strengthen an engaged, vibrant, and flourishing St. Louis Jewish community
  • Promote a vibrant Jewish community for us here and now, and into the future, because we find Jewish life – in all of its diversity – of value as part of our lives, well lived. Foster a Jewish community that is compelling, inclusive, and welcoming to every generation, family and individual circumstance in all of its religious, geographic, and personal diversity. Promote valuing what it means to be Jewish in ways that lead to Jewish identity enduring among present and future members of our community.
  • Deepen and expand Jewish education. Invest in, support and/or create serious, deep, and attractive Jewish educational opportunities with trained educators and compelling speakers. Ensure that all approaches to Jewish life are developed, religious, and non-religious.
  • Build and support Jewish community and social networks to increase engagement. Invest in, support and/or create community gatherings, events, and experiences that offer the potential to engage the widest cross-section of our community, whether together as a whole or through the cultivation of smaller groups having common interests. Meet people where they are.
  • Mobilize around Jewish values, such as improving the world, caring for the needy, welcoming the strangers, and promoting social justice. Invest in, support and/or create efforts to strengthen our region on the basis of Jewish values, recognizing that our community cannot thrive unless the entire region is strong. Expand engagement both within the Jewish community and with external groups, mobilizing our community to promote regional sustainability and economic growth where consistent with our overall mission. 
Core Commitment #2


Secure the well-being and safety of individuals within the Jewish community
  • Care for those in need. Strive to ensure that the material and spiritual needs of those in need within our community are met, in a manner permitting them to maintain their basic dignity. Invest in, support, and/or create efforts to meet the basic needs of our community members. Recognize the special obligations we have to meet – uniquely Jewish needs and our general obligations as Jews to anyone in need.
  • Foster communal safety. Promote the safety of the St. Louis Jewish community through ongoing anti-bias education, security training, and other means. Invest in, support, and/or create programs that support our community’s safety through physical infrastructure investment, coordinated safety practices, and sharing of information. Support the teaching of the lessons of our history to help combat individual and institutional bias wherever it exists.


Priority Level

Core Commitment #2: Secure the well-being and safety of individuals within the Jewish community


• Elderly Jews at risk
• Safety net for those living in poverty or near poverty
• Safety and security
• Mental health


• Disabilities
• Access to care
• Inclusion


• Economic empowerment
• Physical health
• Addiction
• Abuse
• Hospice/end of life care

Core Commitment #3


Strengthen our connection to Israel and the Jewish People worldwide
  • Express support for Israel in terms reflected in its own aspirational Declaration of Independence: as a refuge for all Jews and defense against anti-Semitism; as a source of flourishing for the Jewish People; and in a manner consistent with human rights and justice for all. Encourage and model respectful and inclusive dialogue of a wide range of views. Support economic growth in both Israel and our region through investment and policy advocacy. Promote Israel advocacy through a broad tent approach.
  • Strive to ensure that Israel remains a vibrant democratic homeland for the Jewish people. Invest in strengthening its core institutions to preserve its democratic civil society and pluralistic character.
  • Recognizing our collective responsibility as Jews, invest in, support and/or create efforts to connect with the Jewish People globally, through service, education, and cultural and economic exchange.


Priority Level

Core Commitment #3: Strengthen our connection to Israel and the Jewish People worldwide


• Global Jewry
• Israeli civil society
• Social welfare
• Israel education


• Support for local engagement
• Trips for influentials


• Palestinian/Jewish co-existence
• Urban development in the Israeli periphery
• Economic development/combatting BDS

Core Commitment #4


Develop the financial and human resources, and infrastructure, needed by our community
  • Financial Resources: Help identify and achieve donors’ philanthropic goals by taking a donor-centric, advisory approach that aligns community needs with individual passions and interests and incorporates Jewish philanthropic values. Grow not only the Annual Campaign, but also targeted gifts and legacy and foundational giving. Report on and celebrate Federation’s total fundraising impact on the community, including the Annual Campaign, targeted gifts to Federation, targeted gifts to other community organizations obtained with Federation assistance, grants, and legacy and foundational giving.
  • Human Resources: Identify, recruit, train, and develop exceptional human resources, and support collaborative workplaces in the community that are recognized as great places to work. Create a leadership map and pipeline for lay and volunteer leadership, within Federation and the broader community, investing in best practices that will lead to organizational development.
  • Community Infrastructure: Leverage space, technology, and communications infrastructure for the benefit of all who are served and to attract engagement in the community. Find opportunities to build shared services that increase efficiency and impact and decrease duplication and overlap.


Priority Level

Core Commitment #4: Develop the financial and human resources, and infrastructure, needed by our community


• Recruit and develop lay leaders to serve the Jewish community
• Attract and retain high quality professional staff for Jewish organizations
• Promote and increase opportunities for collaboration among Jewish organizations and service agencies


• Strengthen the organizational capacity of Jewish organizations and service agencies
• Address need for effective marketing and communication efforts across Jewish organizations


• Address physical building space needs in the Jewish community
• Financially support national organizations for their basic infrastructure and operations

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