Aish UK ran a combined online virtual Gala and a subsequent crowdfunding campaign last week, raising £2 million for their operations, breaking through two bonus rounds of fundraising. An initial target of £1.5million was set and was then raised to £1.8m due to overwhelming level of support. When this target was achieved with hours to spare, the final bonus target of £2million was set. These fund will allow Aish UK to continue impacting thousands of students and young professionals with our incredible online and face to face programming while increasing our presence on University Campuses.
After seeing a range of charity online fundraising events and campaigns over the past few months, Aish UK decided to adopt a hybrid approach to our 2021 fundraising campaign. Combining an online Gala for core supporters on the evening of Tuesday 26th January and then opening up to a wider crowdfunding campaign on Wednesday and Thursday, gave Aish UK the ability to maintain our close connection with their supporters and yet ensure that they are able to harness the incredible community-wide support that Aish UK enjoys amongst British Jewry.
Being able to offer supporters a more intimate and interactive Aish Gala Live event, including delivering desserts and cocktail making kits to over 600 guests across 400 households in the UK, allowed Aish UK to share a close up look at their staff and activities in the past year and show their guests a ‘glimpse behind the curtain’ of Aish UK. Featuring staff from all over the country and showcasing a range of role one would not expect to hear from or see at Aish UK. Guests joined private video ‘host rooms’ during the event to share the experience with their own virtual tables and enjoyed an evening getting to know how Aish operated during this past year and our plans for the future. During the evening Rabbi Rowe read out incoming live messages of support and was able to join several hosts and guests in their ‘Virtual Host Rooms’.
With the recent deep loss to the whole Jewish world of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks zt”l, it was a particular honour for Aish UK to have the opportunity to partner with his family and office to dedicate the inaugural ‘Rabbi Sacks zt”l Pioneer of Jewish Education Award’ to JLC Chairman Jonathan Goldstein for his outstanding work in saving schools, leading the community and impacting countless lives, focussing on his work in the Redbridge Project providing long term sustainable education for thousands of students.
Representing the Office of Rabbi Sacks zt”l was Joanna Benarroch together with Henry Grunwald OBE, Chairman of the Covenant & Conversation Trust.
Together they presented the award and then introduced other notable guests who praised Jonathan and his work over the years. Rabbi Malcolm Herman, Associate National Director of Seed, Lady Lira Winston, Gerald Ronson, Rabbi David Meyer and Spencer Lewis, former headteacher at King Solomon High School all gave warm and supportive messages for this very much deserved awardee.
Jonathan Goldstein said on the night “Rabbi Sacks was a mentor to me, he guided me through the project offering advice on various challenges that came my way. For that and so much more I will be eternally grateful. His loss is huge loss for the Jewish world. The vacuum he leaves behind is immense… He was a devoted husband father and grandfather. I was lucky to grow up in Ilford within the warmth of a loving family and a vibrant community. My only hope is that the changes that were made ensure the continuity of Jewish education in the area for some considerable time”.
Jonathan added “The work that Aish does in ensuring the connectivity of so many thousands of Jewish people around this country is so important and they deserve all of our thanks and support.”
Rabbi Daniel Rowe said “So much goes into every event and online session that we create a Aish UK so we decided to show our supporters a little ‘glimpse behind the curtain’ so they could better understand how we’ve made such a huge impact in the most difficult of times for some of our students and young professionals across the UK. I’m so proud and grateful that the community has come out to support Aish UK as we head into 2021 with so many exciting plans”
Rebbetzin Miriam Gefen said “I was simply overwhelmed by the tremendous level of support we have seen this past week. I was proud to represent the Aish Manchester branch at the Gala and was able to highlight how much of our work takes place outside of London and especially in the North and around Manchester. Aish UK is really having an amazing impact with students and keeping them connected in schools, on campus and as Young Professionals.”
Royi Gutkin, Fundraising Director added “Running a campaign like this, we did not know how the community would react, but it was also a huge opportunity to engage closely with hundreds of our supporters and then allow the wider community to support our work by having their donations and their impact tripled by our matching donors. We believe this hybrid model will be used more by charities in the future as we offer our supporters a range of ways to get involved and donate as well as engage with what we do on a deeper level. Using both an online Gala event and then a Charity Extra campaign allowed us to really ensure supporters at all levels we able to be reached in this campaign.”