Find Your Tribe Within the Tribe
Federation’s Affinities Groups Are Growing Thanks to Creative Programs
By Vivian Henoch, Editor myJewishDetroit
March 1, 2018
A mission to Israel for docs
Networking opportunities for real estate pros
Women mentoring women to develop leaders
The next Big Bash for Gen Xers
Guys throwing axes? All in good fun.
Why Affinities at Federation? Because you never know what doors Federation can open for you, because lifelong friendships begin with common interests, because networking doesn’t have to be all work, because fundraising starts with fun . . .
For every Federation Affinity group there’s a reason, a purpose and a dynamic built upon creative programming. Federation’s NEXTGen Detroit, Women’s Philanthropy, Leadership Development tracks, NEXTWork programs . . . all have grown out of the mission to give members every opportunity to connect, engage, learn, volunteer, grow, give back and inspire others along the path on their Jewish journey.
Now, in its second year, Federations “new” Affinities Department has increased its offerings and following. StarTrax CEO, Geoff Kretchmer – a master of event planning and community engagement – serves as Chair.
“The goal of the Affinities Department is to reach unique and under-engaged groups through creative programming,” says Geoff, “Over time, we see the results in a deeper connection and commitment to Jewish philanthropy.”
“Our goal is to serve as a connector, engaging the Gen X demographic in Federation and community in ways that are meaningful to them.” – Geoff Kretchmer
“With our focus on reaching beyond professional groups, we clearly have stepped up our Affinities programming in terms of the quality, variety and creativity,” observes Karen Kaplan, Department Director. Karen works in partnership with Associate Director, Amy Brody and, together, they are a proven team with thorough understanding of the demographics and interests of their target audiences.
Affinity groups on the rise
Taking doctors’ advice, Federation’s longtime Maimonides Society has “upped its game” in providing a wide range of social and networking opportunities with the goals of engaging and creating a deeper community connection for area physicians. Co-Chairs: Jen Sobol and Danny Aronovitz
Recent and upcoming programs: Vinotecca Social on March 14, 2018 ; Honorary Dinner for Dr. Jeffrey Forman with guest speaker, Dr. Rick Hodes, from Ethiopia, at Tam-O-Shanter Country Club on April 10, 2018.
Forman Campaign Leadership Program: A Maimonides Society outreach program established by Dr. Jeffrey Forman with the goal to cultivate future Maimonides leaders and Federation Campaign support. In its inaugural year, 2017, a cohort of thirteen couples participated in a year-long curriculum to develop leadership, networking and commitment to campaign. Members of the group had the opportunity to participate in a Mission to Israel in October 2017. Currently, almost all participants hold leadership and volunteer roles throughout Federation and its agencies. Co-Chairs: Stacey and Mark Schwartz; Advisors: Jeffrey Forman and Terri Farber. The next Forman Campaign Leadership Program is planned for January 2019, with a September 2019 Mission to Israel.
“Jeff Forman has been an important mentor to me professionally, inspiring me to be the kind of doctor who really cares about their patients. It was no surprise that traveling to Israel with him as part of the Forman Leadership group has inspired me to want to make a difference like he has in our Jewish community.” -Zachary Liss, M.D.
Pound for Pound Men’s Group
New in 2017, Pound for Pound brings together men in their late 30’s-mid 50’s for social and educational events that have a Federation focus. Summing up the objective of the group, Jim Ketai observes, “As the name of our program suggests, Pound for Pound stands for a high level of quality with an equal measure of fun for guys looking for opportunities to network as well as to deepen their understanding of Federation and the community.”
To date, three successful programs include a Kick Off at John Varvatos Detroit with Arn Tellem, a Whiskey & Wisdom program with Rabbi Josh Bennett and Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, and a night at Detroit Axe. Next event is planned for spring 2018. Co-Chairs: Jim Ketai, Geoff Kretchmer and Adam Cohen
Taste of Women’s Philanthropy
Held in Spring 2017, the first “Taste” brought together a cohort of women in their 30’s and 40’s to learn about Federation. A partnership with Affinities and Women’s Philanthropy, the series of three short programs culminated in the group attending Women’s Philanthropy’s Signature Event. Today, members have assumed various roles within Women’s Philanthropy and throughout Federation. Chair: Carole BenEzra, Advisor: Regina Colton
“Being a member of the first ‘Taste’ group taught me so much about the impact Federation (and Women’s Philanthropy) is making in the community,” says Jessica Migliore. “I had the opportunity to meet and learn from female leaders that are making a difference, and that inspired me to want to get more involved. Now I am thrilled to be chairing the second group beginning in a few weeks.”
Taste of Women’s Philanthropy begins its second session March 23, 2018 with a new cohort of women eager to experience what Federation and Women’s Philanthropy have to offer. Chair: Jessica Migliore, Advisor: Ilana Liss
Ultimate 80’s Bash
Federation’s Affinities first large-scale event was held in December 2017 at St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit. Conceived as the first of an Annual Event – a celebration of the 80s, featuring popular cover band, The Mega 80’s – the Ultimate Bash was a sell-out with over 500 registered, representing a mix of adults in their late 30’s to 60’s.
Commenting on the success of the first event, Neil Sherman said, “Our 80’s Bash appealed to a demographic that isn’t traditionally programmed for – people in their late 30’s to 60’s, those extremely involved with Federation and those who never attended a Federation event. We are proud to say that 118 of the latter group are now new Federation donors! The success of this event only goes to show the great potential in developing this group moving forward. Stay tuned for details about this year’s event on December 8, 2018.”
Co-Chairs: Sherri Ketai, Geoff Kretchmer and Neil Sherman
Real Estate Group
Set to launch this spring, this group’s events will provide networking and mentorship opportunities for both established and up-and-coming real estate professionals, as well as an education about the role Federation serves in the community. Chair: Todd Sachse
“It’s exciting to see Federation launch a community Real Estate Group and I am honored to have been asked to lead it,” said Todd Sachse. “We are looking forward to providing a year-round calendar of dynamic and engaging programs where a diverse group of real estate professionals in our community can participate, network and strengthen our community together. I look forward to meeting and learning from the depth of experience we have in our market and building new relationships.”
For information on these and other Affinities programs, please contact Karen Kaplan, Director, Affinities Department, 248-203-1453, Kaplan@jfmd.org.