What is JCA’s Role in Our Community?

February 16, 2011 by Ian Sandler
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Last week’s post copped some criticism as to the role of JCA in the community – was it our place to comment on floods, disasters etc, specifically as they did not relate directly to New South Wales?  A commentator went so far as to point out that the function of JCA is to be the fundraiser for the community in NSW, not a spiritual or political voice.

To return to the original comment about JCA’s role in the community – no, we are not a spiritual or political voice – we have qualified and specialised people heading up synagogues and organisations who are mandated to do this such as the NSW Board of Deputies.  But,  we are a dedicated group of people, some of whom do this as paid work and others who volunteer their time and expertise, all with good intentions and future success for our community at heart, but also, on occasion where appropriate, for the broader human cause.

Over time, the mandate of the JCA has grown to encompass planning for the community and anticipating what the landscape for Sydney’s Jewish community will look like in the future.  For example, answers gathered from recent census and survey results tell us that in ten years time we’re going to have a surge in aged care needs and that our high schools will be stretched to capacity trying to accommodate the stream of students currently doing primary school through the public system with the hope of attending a Jewish Day School for high school.  Consequently, capacity in some of our primary schools has resulted in financial stress for those schools under-utilised.

No organisation runs without a long-term strategy, and neither should a community.  Particularly when it’s being supported by you, our donors.  Responsible allocation of the funds you give us lends credibility not only to us, but to the 21 organisations that are members of the JCA and the people that lead them and sit on their boards.

Accountability to each other raises the bar and makes our work relevant.  Buy-in for this process is transparent in all cases and absolute.  Meeting on average every two months, the Presidents of our 21 member organisations together with JCA’s Non-Trustee Governors decide on key initiatives and strategies that will continue to develop and grow our community.

Reaching into all sectors of the community, including all Jews in New South Wales and ACT, the JCA through its member organisations strives to ensure that there is support where it’s needed most.  To coin a phrase that we have been using in our advertising material but which cuts to the heart of the matter – for us, charity begins at home but does not necessarily end there.  Only by working together, planning and accommodating change can we grow stronger.  I wish you all a good week.

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