As we continue to recover from the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, facing new challenges to overcome and opportunities to connect, we’re kicking off our 2023 Annual Campaign in support of the Greater Boston Jewish community.
We sat down with Kim Creem and Campe Goodman, serving as this year’s Co-chairs, to discuss how their experiences have shaped their perception of CJP, why every donation matters, and their hopes for the coming year.
Can you share some personal information about your life and background? How did philanthropy come to play such a huge role?
Campe: I was fortunate to have good role models in my family. They emphasized to me that it was important to support your community, and they lived that example. They also donated generously, even when they didn’t have much to give. There is a famous (in our family!) story of my great-grandfather, who owned a tire store in Richmond, giving away tires to clergy during the Great Depression.
Kim: I grew up in Lynnfield. It was a beautiful place, but not necessarily very Jewish. Our shul was conservative, small, and a very tight community. Judaism was an important part of my upbringing — celebrating Shabbat, going to shul most Friday nights, and living in a kosher home. Philanthropy really became a huge part of my life as I got older, became married, and had children. I wanted to set a role model for my children to see the richness of Judaism and our culture. I wanted them to appreciate tikkun olam (repairing the world) and the importance of always giving back and performing acts of kindness to others.
You’ve both been involved with CJP since you were young adults. How has your relationship with the organization evolved? How have you evolved since your involvement began?
Campe: I first got involved with the Boston Jewish community through CJP's Young Adult Leadership. Not long after, I started working professionally in Boston. That was meaningful to me because CJP was one of the places in the Jewish community that gave young adults a way to make a difference, do something meaningful, and be of service.
Then I started transitioning to work alongside the partner agencies. I served on the boards of Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), and American Jewish Committee (AJC).
I discovered that I particularly liked organizations that connected the Jewish community with the broader Boston community. That's where I really find my energy — in that intersection between the two.
Kim: My relationship with CJP has definitely evolved over the 32 years since I moved back to Boston and joined my first Gala committee! CJP has been with me through every stage of my life — from my single days as a member of the YLD Board and Co-chair of the Ben-Gurion Society to finally becoming a Board member and Campaign Co-chair! CJP has helped me evolve as a volunteer by allowing me to use my skillset and expertise to help the community. CJP has helped me define the meaning of tikkun olam in my life as a single woman, a mother, a wife, an accountant, and most importantly, as a member of this vibrant community.
Serving as the Annual Campaign Chairs is such a generous gift of time and effort to the Jewish community. What inspired you to volunteer your time in this way?
Campe: As someone who didn’t grow up in the Boston area, I was immensely grateful as a young adult to CJP for helping me to engage in meaningful community service and for giving me an opportunity to integrate myself into the Boston Jewish community. When CJP came to me and asked whether I would serve as Campaign Chair, I responded with an enthusiastic yes! Our community needs financial support to flourish, and I am happy to ask for it.
Kim: My children have joked around with me for years, always asking when I am on the phone, “Are you on another CJP call?” Although it has been a question asked for years, most of the time they are correct in their assumptions! For me, being asked to be the Annual Campaign Chair is a gift to me — a true honor, privilege, and a responsibility that I do not take lightly.
What are the strengths you bring to this role?
Campe: I love going out and talking to people in our community. Some people say that they hate asking others for money, but I feel good about it — it's an opportunity to support something we already care about! I’m also happy to listen to donors’ aspirations for CJP (and even their frustrations). I enjoy those discussions.
Kim: I bring a diverse perspective to the position having served in many roles with CJP prior to joining the campaign. Due to the range of these experiences, I hope to add perspective to our fundraising effort. I hope my dedication to the Jewish community and my strong organizational skills will carry over as an effective fundraiser and organizer.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles to participation [in the Annual Campaign] in our community and how do you hope to see them addressed? What compels you to invest in CJP?
Campe: Some prospective donors don’t participate because they don’t think their donation matters. Other donors don’t give, or they give below their capacity, because they don’t feel a compelling need for a broad organization like CJP and want to target their gift to the issues that they feel most passionate about. I like to tell donors that there’s only one organization that is focused on ensuring that the Boston-area Jewish community will be thriving in a hundred years — that’s ultimately what CJP is about.
Kim: I often hear questions or concerns such as, “If I don't give a big enough gift, why give at all?” or “CJP is exclusive, and I am not part of that group,” or “I don’t fully understand what CJP is all about.” I really hope to educate people about what CJP does, where our dollars go, and how large our impact is for the community, both here and abroad.
You’re both involved with CJP’s partner organizations. How have those experiences framed your perspectives of our community and CJP?
Campe: I’ve been privileged to serve on the board of JVS Boston for almost 15 years. JVS is the largest workforce development organization in the Boston community, helping people to get good jobs with living wages and teaching them skills so that they have paths to successful long-term careers.
My work with JVS has also given me a great perspective on the value that CJP adds to its partner agencies. JVS receives much more than financial assistance from CJP. New board members, donor stewardship, assistance with the state legislature – all these vital functions receive support from CJP.
Kim: Being on the board (and various other committees) at JF&CS has allowed me to see the impact that CJP has on our agencies and how the grant process takes into account the needs of our community, our partner organizations, as well as the projects that we work on together. I have seen CJP partner with JF&CS in ways that are efficient and strategic — trying not to recreate the wheel, learning from each other, and working together to create the best and most productive initiative for the community.
What are the biggest challenges facing our community and how do you hope to see them addressed this year?
Campe: I think it’s going to be a tough year. Inflation has been high and will likely remain so for some time. The cost of living is soaring. Unfortunately, we’re likely to see more people losing their jobs this year. The needs in our community and beyond — to combat antisemitism and support Israel — are rising as well.
The good news is that we have the capacity in our community to meet a lot of the needs, and as I enter my second year as Campaign Chair, I know that there are a lot of generous people who will help.
Kim: The biggest challenge facing our community right now is the decrease in the number of those participating philanthropically in the Jewish community. This worries me greatly for two reasons. First, it suggests a lack of commitment and interest by a growing segment of our Jewish Boston community. Second, the drop in participation has contributed to a concentration in giving among a smaller group of participants, further straining our community. My hope is for the Annual Campaign this year to reflect a greater participation of our community, as we look to strengthen the bonds of togetherness and go from strength to strength for our children, grandchildren, and onward.