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Periodically, The Pulse will feature a new section called The AFMDA Lab, which highlights new ideas and innovations that AFMDA supporters and staff are using to raise funds for MDA…and raise the bar in Jewish philanthropy.


Our Greatest Assets Are Our People…Right? As a mid-life Jew, what options exist to reignite my Jewish identity and parlay my private-sector experience and skills to benefit MDA and our community? by Cari Margulis Immerman

There is evidence that the Jewish community understands this trend and is acting on it. However, the recent Pew Research Study and others analyses note very significant challenges for the Jewish community: ■■ Decreased institutional affiliation; ■■ Greater giving to non-Jewish charities; and ■■ An environment where talented and passionate professionals

below the CEO or most senior levels are often treated as disposable expenses versus assets to be nurtured and rewarded. Given these hurdles, isn’t it time to re-envision how to recruit, develop, and retain talent? Certainly, organizations often face financial challenges and revenue-to-expense ratios are justifiably scrutinized by lay leaders, donors, industry monitoring groups, etc. But we must address the need to actively invest in human talent strategic initiatives, locally and nationally. The consequences of not doing so are enormous. Cari Margulis Immerman is AFMDA’s director for Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Western Pennsylvania. Cari can be reached at or 877.405.3913. ■

Cari Margulis Immerman (left) at a recent ambulance dedication with (from her left) Dr. John J. Mames Chapter Michigan Region Chair Manny Charach, ambulance sponsors Don and Esther Simon, and David Mark Berger Chapter President Barry Feldman.

There’s a lot of talk about how initiatives like Birthright Israel and Hillel successfully engage young people and forge greater selfawareness of their Jewish identities while identifying ways to contribute to our communities locally, throughout the U.S., and in Israel. But what about people like me? While I have moments where I feel like a twentysomething, my driver’s license keeps reminding me otherwise. As a mid-life Jew, what are my options to reignite my Jewish identity and parlay my private-sector experience and skills to benefit our community, here and in Israel? For me, the answer has been an “encore career,” or, a professional (for-pay) career in Jewish life. I’m, at my core, a private sector–trained marketing, sales, and brand professional. And now that I’m at AFMDA, I am excited, rejuvenated, and brimming with ideas carried over from the private sector that will help the Jewish people and Israel. It’s a good fit: AFMDA rewards risk-taking and empowers us to innovative in our work. But is the wider professional Jewish community ready for folks like us? And does it understand the value we bring, let alone foster it? A study by the MetLife Foundation states that the private sector correlates 15 to 30 percent of its value as “human capital.” This is seen in the transition from human resources departments to newer models based on “talent acquisition,” “development,” and “retention.”

The Pulse The AFMDA Newsletter

Heartbeat: Re-Imagining NextGen by Giving Young People the Power to Support MDA Have you ever gone to a young leadership event for a charity and thought: “I could do something cooler than this”? Then you may want to check out AFMDA’s NextGen community, Heartbeat. This unique initiative offers young people the opportunity to create almost any kind of event they want, as long as it raises funds for MDA. AFMDA helps with some logistics, but Heartbeat gives its members the power to innovate, plan, and execute their own events. You get the satisfaction of knowing your own event helped MDA save lives in Israel! Want to organize a 10K run/walk? Or a professional networking event at a classy venue downtown? Or a Purim costume party? Heartbeat gives you the tools. You get the cred. And MDA saves more lives in Israel. For more on Heartbeat or to get involved, contact Erik Levis at or 866.632.2763. ■


The Pulse: Spring 2014 Midwest Edition  
The Pulse: Spring 2014 Midwest Edition