In 2019, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven introduced the inaugural Isadore E. “Zeke” Still Award for Campaign Excellence. Presented each year at the Annual Meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven, Inc., and the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven ,each year the Zeke Still Award is presented to a longtime Federation supporter who's generosity and innovative thinking exemplifies the core Jewish values that Federation aims to uphold—values like tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedakah (charity), and chesed (kindness).
There are few Federation supporters who have earned this accolade as wholeheartedly as David A. Beckerman -- which is why the New Haven philanthropist is the recipient of the 2023 Zeke Still Award.
A generous donor to Federation's annual campaign, Beckerman has established numerous endowments at the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven. But perhaps his greatest achievement is his success in promoting the importance of PACE (Permanent Annual Campaign Endowment). Seeing how important PACE has been in funding the Federation annual campaign , Beckerman provided a generous match and started the Beckerman Family PACE Challenge.
PACE provides annual funding for our community campaign, thus insuring we can continue to provide for Jewish New Haven.
While David Beckerman couldn't be present at the September Annual Meeting to accept his award, he did share a message with those in attendance. In his message, he explained the value of PACE and how it contributes to the health and longevity of the New Haven Jewish community.
FROM DAVID A. BECKERMAN (READ BY MARK SKLARZ):
Thank you to our CEOs, Amy Holtz of the Federation and Lisa Stanger of the Foundation, for this award. While receiving awards from our community and being recognized is most gratifying, our family did not create the PACE CHALLENGE (Permanent Annual Campaign Endowment) for that purpose.
We have learned a great deal from the past and understand that traditions often are tied to history rather than current reality. At times it is very difficult to accept that as fact. In my opinion this is one of those times and we as a community need to understand that adhering to just a tradition that may be eroding our base is very dangerous.
I am speaking of the general Annual Community Campaign. Just over a decade ago, the Greater New Haven community raised approximately $3.2 million for our Annual Campaign. The PACE contribution was a mere $19,000. Since that time, our Annual Campaign has decreased. In 2022 the Campaign raised $2.2 million dollars and PACE FUNDS contributed a much needed $550,000. That means the Annual Campaign raised only $1,650,000, continuing a downward trend.
At a minimum, the objective of PACE is to preserve and perpetuate each donor’s annual gift and protect the community’s future. It is our ONLY insurance policy for sustainability.
The facts are as clear as a bell. PACE MUST be the priority. We have lost so many businesses and key families that supported the Greater New Haven community for decades.
The Lenders, Trachtens, Eders, Reiters and others who for so many years provided enormous support can no longer carry the weight of the community. So many of businesses — such as Gant, Setlow, Lee Beachwear and Starter no longer exist in New Haven.
The pressing and ongoing concern is obvious: People move from the community or pass away and WITHOUT PACE, we have no plan to sustain their gifts.
Professionals and business people who have earned their livings in and enjoyed the great benefits of our community should feel a compulsion to establish a PACE Fund or remember our community in their ESTATE PLANS.
PACE is clearly the answer, yet it will NOT be the priority it should be if we continue along the traditional route and HOPE the Annual Campaign will be sufficient to support our community needs. The Annual Campaign must be increased dramatically and, based on recent history, PACE is the insurance to achieve that goal.
We now are passing the torch of leadership from one administration that performed noble efforts despite being handicapped with substantial obstacles over the last several years.
Our new administration has the opportunity to recognize that, while history and traditional policy have value, times demand change and will provide the financial insurance our community needs and requires at this time. PACE WILL PROVIDE THAT NEW DIRECTION FOR US AND NOW IS THE TIME FOR SUCH A PRIORITY!
It is crucial that there be a strong effort to implement a PACE Campaign that involves the entire community and the new administration, even if it temporarily affects a portion of the General Campaign.
Our family’s PACE Challenge of $2 million had less than 70 Gifts (and 5 of the 70 are our Family) from over 20,000 Jews in the Greater New Haven area. WE CAN AND MUST DO BETTER THAN THAT!
Hats off to the Foundation which (with limited help) has met our challenge that at least $1 million had to be raised in NEW PACE FUNDS. To date, a total of $2.2 million has been raised with ONLY 70 Gifts.
This Means $4.2 million of PACE Funds will be added to the existing category in 2023. Again, I say PACE is the future and the priority we must support to sustain our community.
PLEASE create a new tradition and build history of a different kind.
The ACTION MUST BE NOW! TIME IS NOT ON OUR SIDE.