JFNA

MEET THE LAY LEADERS

The Power of Giving talked to Judy Altenberg and Harold Gernsbacher – two busy volunteers who hold senior positions at JFNA and represent the numerous lay leaders who contribute so much to Federations on both a local and national level

Judy Altenberg

Judy Altenberg

Hailing from Denver, Judy Altenberg is chair of National Womens Philanthropy (NWP) of JFNA. She is immediate past chair and campaign chair of the Jewish Womens Philanthropy Center of JEWISHcolorado. Trained as a lawyer, she has spent the majority of her professional career volunteering.

Tell us about the Jewish journey that got you to your new leadership position at JFNA.

Like all Jewish journeys, mine really began with my grandparents. Decisions they made are why Im here today, living a rich, involved Jewish life with my family in Denver. Their support and my parents support of Federation have touched my life in countless ways: I grew up with youth groups, Israel trips, summer camp and was even international president of BBYO — all funded by Federations. My involvement now is an attempt to give back while planting the same seeds for my children, who go to camp and are involved in many of the same activities I was. Thats why I became involved in my Federation locally, then nationally through Cabinet and then National Womens Philanthropy. And the more involved I get in Federation, the more I see firsthand just how true it is that we Jews really are all personally responsible for one another.

What is your elevator pitch for the Annual Campaign when you visit our communities?

No gift touches more Jewish lives. When you give to your local Federation, you make a difference not just here at home, but in every Jewish community on earth – thats quite the value-added! By banding together as one, we can accomplish infinitely more than we can individually and respond to crises in a heartbeat. Our needs are always growing, so your support is critical to ensuring the future of our global Jewish community!

Anything else you would like to add?

Womens philanthropic campaigns are the heart and soul of federated giving. At NWP, our mission is to empower Jewish women to become trained solicitors and leaders who will take their skills back home to grow their campaigns. Our women are vital builders of their communities, and it is such an honor to lead them.

Harold Gernsbacher

Harold Gernsbacher

Texan Harold Gernsbacher is National Campaign chair of JFNA. In Fort Worth, he has served the Federation in numerous capacities, including as president and endowment chair. In Dallas, he is currently a member of the board of trustees. Professionally, Mr. Gernsbacher is CEO of In Step Foodservice in Fort Worth.

Tell us about the Jewish journey that got you to your new national Federation leadership position.

The thread of responsibility I carry was passed down through many generations. I always knew it would one day be my turn to help build our tomorrow. I believe my time in my local Federations, my work for The Jewish Agency for Israel, and my experience as international co-chair of Partnership 2Gether and vice chair of UIA have provided me with the knowledge and history to lead this campaign. I am humbled and excited to continue my journey and pass the thread to the next generation.

What is your elevator pitch for the Annual Campaign when you visit our communities?

I have but 15 million people to care for. In this great big world, that is not many. We hold forever the responsibility to help each other. Join me.

What are some of the most important fundraising tools you use?

Our Federation mission is both simple and complex. We are merely one person asking another person to help a third. Tools are the knowledge and passion to share why what we do is so critical. Sharing our resources together allows us to belong to our community. To help build our Jewish community today and tomorrow. I ask people to join me in doing our part like so many others have done for us.

Anything else you would like to add?

Enjoy the journey youre embarking on. The frustrations melt away as you continue your communities traditions. Be inventive, compassionate and SMILE. You are a group of incredibly special people who have made a tremendous commitment.