Communication and Courage
“I’m not even sure where the word federation came from or what it means. I’m a ‘Star Trek’ fan, so to me it means the United Federation of Planets that comes together to protect itself against its enemies,” Seserman says with a laugh.
“So [in the course of changing the organization’s name], we stumbled upon calling ourselves what we are — JEWISHcolorado. It was very organic and explained our purpose: to build and sustain Jewish life in Colorado, in Israel and around the world,” he adds.
Once the name was set, the next goal was to very clearly identify exactly what the organization does and how. It was important to make it perfectly clear that supporters could both give to it and through it, as grantmaking is as core to JEWISHcolorado’s mission as directly providing programs and services.
To that end, the reimagining team came up with the notion of SMECA, which speaks to both the organization’s mission objectives and grantmaking. In short, SMECA represents two mission objectives and three areas of grantmaking:
- Secure, steward and share philanthropic and human resources;
- Mobilize the community in times of need;
- Engage the next generation of being Jewish;
- Care for the vulnerable; and
- Support Israel and Advocate for the Jewish world.
“I’m not sure we communicated those goals clearly before,” Seserman says. “Now since the reimagining, we’re approaching donors in a much simpler way, with a more straightforward and compelling message. Now when donors give to us, they have what I call flexible philanthropy to give both to our organization and through our organization to other partner organizations. But we wanted to focus on some distinct things that we can do on behalf of our community, not just on our role as a conduit to other agencies.”