2278 Donors Contribute Nearly $5.4 Million in Historic Campaign
It was a ringing endorsement last week as the Jewish community responded enthusiastically to Amudim’s annual fundraising campaign, raising more than $5.3 million to cover operating costs and programming at its offices across the United States and Israel.
The “I Give With Heart” Charidy campaign was dedicated in memory of Amudim’s founder and chairman of the board, Cleveland philanthropist Mendy Klein A’H, who passed away unexpectedly on May 3rd. In his lifetime, Klein was a passionate advocate against abuse and addiction, giving generously of himself and spending many a sleepless night in his efforts to help those who were suffering.
The $5 million campaign, Charidy’s second largest ever, kicked off on July 31st. Close to 2,300 donations were received from all across the world during the 36 hour fundraiser, with 37 matchers quadrupling all contributions. An additional $390,000 was raised in the campaign’s bonus round that had a trio of benefactors doubling all donations above the $5M dollar mark. With donations coming in from 276 cities across eight countries, spanning four continents, Amudim director Zvi Gluck categorized the unprecedented response to the cause as historic, noting that the problems of abuse and addiction had long been swept under the rug in the Jewish community.
“The amount of money raised, coupled with the number of people who contributed was a true testament to Mendy Klein, proving that the seeds he planted are taking root in a very real way,” said Gluck. “Mendy stepped up to the plate in a way that no one else could and the results of this campaign prove that the world truly cares about this cause.”
The Klein family has demonstrated its continued commitment to Amudim despite its devastating loss. In addition to donating generously to the campaign, Mrs. Ita Klein has been named the new chair of Amudim’s board, with sons Yoni and Nati Klein accepting seats on the board of directors.
“Carrying on Mendy’s legacy is a responsibility that we take very seriously and embrace wholeheartedly,” said Mrs. Klein. “This is not a one time event or a problem that affects a single person. This is an issue that impacts all of Klal Yisroel.”
The campaign included a two and a half hour livestream hosted by radio host Nachum Segal and featured interviews with elected officials, community leaders and survivors of sexual abuse, the hard hitting content leaving many viewers deeply moved. Among those who spoke was Baruch Sandhaus, who was first molested at the age of seven, the abuse continuing for years at the hands of rabbeim, camp counselors and choir leaders. Now a grandfather, Sandhaus spoke emotionally about his experiences, urging sexual abuse victims to reach out to Amudim for help in order to rid themselves of the shame and guilt that can drive them to destructive behaviors.
The $5.3 million dollars raised will cover the operating costs of various programs. $1.5 million will be used to supplement grants and donations to fund operations at Amudim’s USA offices, with another $600,000 earmarked for Amudim’s recently opened Israel office. The remaining donations have been designated to create and develop an age appropriate and rabbinically approved school curriculum on sexual abuse and will also fund both the Gavz Boyz summer program for troubled teens and therapy subsidies through Amudim’s Project Heal.
As always, the need for additional funding remains as crucial as ever at Amudim, where therapy costs can run in the tens of thousands of dollars for every client and can total $10 million annually. While Amudim’s private crowdfunding site, which allows individuals to donate to a specific case has raised $700,000 over the past seven months, the increased call volume in the days following the campaign has demonstrated Amudim’s constant fundraising needs.
“We welcome those calls for help with open arms and encourage anyone who is suffering to contact us,” said Gluck. “This is why we are here and we will continue doing all that we do until the day that our services are no longer needed.”
Gluck said that he has been humbled by the reaction to the campaign. He has heard from survivors who said that they were glued to the I Give With Heart website for the duration of the fundraiser, feeling both empowered and embraced by the number of individuals and families throughout the world who supported the campaign.
“The mere fact that so many members of klal yisroel banded together for this cause is a testament to the fact that we as a community are standing up for those who can’t speak for themselves,” said Gluck. “While this campaign showed that klal yisroel cares about those who are in pain, this is only the beginning because there is so much more that we still need to do and so many more victims who need our help. We will to continue to honor the memory of Mendy Klein by perpetuating his legacy and carrying out his vision so that no member of our community ever has to suffer in silence again.”