The donations are part of The Kehilla’s main annual fundraiser, Kehilla Fest, set for March 20 within the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival. Like the money raised from the $36 concert tickets, Rabbi Karmi David Ingber said, the funds will go toward the congregation’s year-round operations.
As much as the total raised, however, Rabbi Ingber is excited by the number of donors, which he said exceeded 380 people among the 339 donations and the three groups matching each gift.
“That for me is the best part of this whole thing. It shows the reach that we’re having,” the rabbi said. “It’s very humbling and a beautiful thing for us.”
The Kehilla was one of 25 outreach organizations participating in the Association of Jewish Outreach Programs’ United Kiruv Giving Day on the Charidy.com platform from 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17. In the all-or-nothing format — an organization had to hit its fundraising goal or none of the pledges would count — all 25 groups made it, bringing in $5.4 million against a $4.5 million cumulative goal.
Each group had to have three matchers to provide $1 for every $1 pledged, so that a $1 donation was worth $4 to the organization.
Rabbi Ingber said The Kehilla doesn’t have individuals who could pledge $25,000 or more in matching funds, but supporters formed into matching groups based on the ways they have benefited from the congregation’s programs: Friends of The Kehilla; the Jewish Outreach Group; and the Association for the Wellspring of Torah.
“I really want to thank everyone for being part of it,” the rabbi said.
To help The Kehilla meet its goal, 30 volunteers formed a call center at the Ingber home so that each donation would motivate more people to give. Rabbi Ingber acknowledged some nerve-racking times and “points where I started to get a little bit concerned, but we felt we were going to get there.”