Like other Jewish organizations that have run one-day crowdfunding campaigns on the Charidy.com platform the past couple of years, Chabad of Forsyth lined up three sets of donors to match contributions on a 3-to-1 basis, so that each dollar pledged was worth $4 to the first Jewish congregation in Forsyth County.
When the campaign launched at noon Sunday, Aug. 13, the goal was $170,000 — $42,500 from pledges and the balance from matching gifts. Driving donations by email and phone, Rabbi Levi Mentz needed only about three-fourths the time allotted to reach the goal.
The campaign then entered a bonus round, during which each donation was tripled instead of quadrupled. The bonus goal was $250,000 total; Chabad of Forsyth finished with $255,693 from 336 donations and the matches.
In promotions for the fundraising drive, Rabbi Mentz said the purpose was to clear the debt from the 5.5-acre property Chabad of Forsyth purchased at 795 Brannon Road in June.
The rabbi could not be reached for comment on whether the additional $85,000, 50 percent beyond the initial goal, will be used to pay off debt or to support other efforts in creating a Jewish community center for Forsyth, Dawson and Lumpkin counties.
In the past year, Rabbi Mentz and his wife, Chaish, have established Congregation Beth Israel, the Juda religious school, a preschool and an adult education program, and they have made strong connections with Jewish residents and government officials in Forsyth.
Rabbi Mentz has said the Brannon Road site, close to Ga. 400, is the perfect location and size for Chabad of Forsyth’s needs now and in the future.
“From here,” he said in a video for the crowdfunding campaign, “we will be a beacon of light to make Forsyth County the greatest county in the United States.”