Kol Ami, like all Reform congregations, is its own independent not-for-profit organization? We are run and managed by a small non-profit board and we have several part-time staff members, but no full time staff members. If you have ever been a part of a non-profit before, you know that what we pull off every week at Kol Ami, given our size and structure, is simply amazing. Dedicated staff, volunteers and lay leaders are what hold it all together. We work as a team. Both staff and lay leaders collaborate every week to ensure that we are able to care for the spiritual, religious, educational and social needs of our community members.
We do not receive any resources from a centralized organization to keep our little congregation going. Unlike many churches, synagogues are not supported by a centralized group. We pay annual dues, based on our membership size, to the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). Our dues to the URJ brings us educational and organizational resources. These dues to the URJ connect us to the larger Reform movement including the youth groups and camps. We strongly identify with the URJ and have worked over the past 3 years to strengthen our relationship with our national organization. The URJ helps us to be stronger and better, but it is our members that keep our doors open.
The members of Kol Ami, all 110 families, are the exclusive financial backers of our community. That is a lot of responsibility for just over 100 families. To keep afloat supporting our staff, programs, rent, holiday celebrations and our tzedakah efforts in the community? Wow! The good, no the GREAT news, is that we are financially stable. Kol Ami is the most financially stable and well run congregation for whom I️ have had the pleasure to serve. We strive to live well within our means and to find abundance on a shoe string budget. And yet we know that we need to reach beyond the circle of our membership in order to meet our budgeted goals this year and in all future years. Like all congregations, dues do not nearly cover the full cost of running the community. Additional fundraising is always a given. This might come in the form of grants and gifts. But it primarily comes in the form of widening our circle of supporters. We need to reach beyond our current members for support and we need your help in doing so.
Here are a few ways you, as a member, can help (other than donating more money-which is of course welcome but not a sustainable approach):
- Invite friends and family to check out our congregation and encourage membership. Be an ambassador! Be a host. Be someone who helps us grow through your own connections. With every new member family the share of responsibility for sustaining this community is widened.
- Invite friends and families to our fundraisers. Over the next 6 months we will be having a couple of little, and one big, fundraisers. All will be fun and engaging. All will be affordable and accessible. We always welcome people of all financial abilities.
Did you also know?
Kol Ami is the only Jewish organization north of 520 and south of Everett on the Eastside? We are the only Jewish organization in the 45th legislative district. We serve far and wide. We open our doors to all. Over half of the people who attend High Holidays are not, or not yet, Kol Ami members. We serve a far larger population than those who commit to be members, sustainers and supporters.
In order for our community to be sustainable long term we are looking to expand our base of supporters. Anything you can do to help in this effort is greatly appreciated and will be greatly appreciated by the generations of Jews living in this region of Washington State to come.
We might be small but we are mighty. I️ look forward to seeing you soon and please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.