North America Review


Since January 2007, Women’s American ORT and ORT America have merged to form one new fundraising organisation called ORT America. For further information on their more recent activities, please see their website at . ORT America are the leading fundraising organisation and supporter ORT programmes worldwide. For information on ORT’s activities in North America including Canada, please read the full article. Jump to articles on AMERICAN ORT | WOMEN’S AMERICAN ORT | ORT OPERATIONS USA | CANADA AMERICAN ORT Founded in 1921, American ORT supports and promotes ORTsglobal programmes and mission through the fundraising efforts ofits 16 chapters and 15,000 members and many other supportersnationwide. American ORTs Chapters held more than 25 majorfundraising events in 2005. The Next Generation Group which identifies and nurtures layleaders in their 20s, 30s and 40s held several events, includingthe Los Angeles Chapters Next Generation Penthouse Party, whichwas co-sponsored by JDate founder Joe Shapira, an ORTSyngalowski graduate. At the annual meeting in New York City, veteran ORT lay leader JoeCohen, of Atlanta, was re-elected to serve as National President.American ORTs 12 members of World ORTs elite major donors group,The 1880 Society, were each honoured with an exclusive speciallymintedmedal. An eight-day mission of American ORT supporters to ORT centres inMoscow and Prague raised almost $100,000. Mission participantsenjoyed a firsthand look at the Moscow Technology School No. 1299,the Moscow Vocational Training Centre (VTC), and the Education andCulture Centre of Pragues Jewish Museum. They also had privatemeetings with the US Ambassador to the Russian Federation andgovernment officials. WOMEN’S AMERICAN ORT Womens American ORT (WAO) has adopted several innovativemajor gift fundraising vehicles that address the present and futureneeds of the organisation while appealing to the varying interests andgoals of sophisticated donors. The inspiration for WAOs Diamond Ladder Campaign is the Jewishphilosopher Maimonides, who ranked highest form of charitable givingas the gift of providing an individual with the ability to earn his ownlivelihood. By the end of the year, 57 people had joined the DiamondLadder by contributing at least $5,000 per year for three years.Another 76 people joined the Heritage Club of the Baroness deGunzburg Society by designating a verifiable planned gift of at least$50,000. Plans are underway to establish additional recognition forthose who give at least $150,000. To attract contributors with limited time and multiple responsibilities,Giving Circles, a structure that allows men and women to support aspecific project at a minimum gift level of $5,000 per year, are beingcreated. These donors want a direct relationship with the individuals theyare helping and to the educators and administrators who are operatingthe programme. WAO supporters comprise more than one-third of the membership of The1880 Society, World ORTs elite major donors group.Participants in a mission to Prague, Kiev and Moscow saw the progress madein the Regeneration 2004 programme, for which WAO committed a four-yearmajor gifts campaign to raise $2.8 million for projects in the CIS and BalticStates. In 18 months, more than one-half of the goal has been raised.WAO is cultivating young leaders through several programmesdomestically and internationally through participation in World ORTsInternational Next Generation initiative. Also in 2005, Hope Kessler joined WAO as Executive Director. Hope Kesslercomes to the organisation with extensive fundraising experience at suchorganisations as New York Universitys School of Medicine and Hospitals andNorth Shore University Hospital/Long Island Jewish Health System. ORT OPERATIONS USA ORT Operations USA is the programmatic arm of its sponsoringorganisations, American ORT and Womens American ORT. ORTOperations USA administers Bramson ORT College in New York,technical institutes in Los Angeles and Chicago, and four ORT ComputerCentres in Miami, Atlanta, Cleveland and Detroit. These institutions havetrained more than 100,000 Jewish refugees and immigrants mostlyfrom the former Soviet Union and Iran over the last two decades. Today,most of the students continue to be immigrant adults, but a growingnumber come from American high schools. Bramson ORT College has introduced special programmes for yeshivot(religious Jewish learning centres) and the general community by whichstudents can complete their general equivalency (high school) diplomaand associate degrees. Bramson graduated 110 students with associatedegree and certificate programmes in 2005. The Business ManagementAssociate Degree programme won official approval to be taught entirelyvia distance-learning. The College has introduced state-of-the-art videoconferencing equipment allowing live communication between sites foradministrative as well as teaching purposes. Los Angeles ORT Technical Institute graduated 405 students in 2005a 19 percent increase on 2004. Los Angeles ORTs certificateprogrammes include ESL, Computerised Accounting, ComputerAided Design (CAD) and Computer Graphics. In 2005, the Instituteintroduced programmes to train medical assistants and pharmacytechnicians. ORT Operations USA. Students in the Medical Office Assistant programme. The Zarem/Golde ORT Technical Institute, which has moved 20miles north from Chicago to Skokie, Illinois, graduated 443 studentsin 2005. The Institute has become a cultural centre for the RussianJewish Community and provides vocational training to SkokiesOrthodox Jewish community. It offers courses in ESL, ComputerisedAccounting and Computer Graphics as well as a Medical OfficeAssistant programme. The ORT e-Learning Centre in New York opened its doors in May2005. It develops programmes for younger children and providesassistance in learning skills. The Centre supplements traditionaltutoring with tools using advanced technology that have beencreated specifically for the purpose of guiding children in grades 1to 12 through difficult academic tasks. In addition to 50 studentswho attend the Centre on a regular basis, the ORT e-Learning Centreservices 1,000 students nationwide. Detroits David B Hermelin ORT Resource Centre in Detroit, whichopened in 2004, serves nearly 5,000 students and 300 educators.The Centre has received an extension grant from the Jewish WomensFoundation enabling it to continue a programme that gives technologyand job skills training to Orthodox Jewish women. The Centrescourses include Introduction to Computers and the use of multimediaand office software. ORT continues to provide technology training toteachers in the Detroit area. CANADA The focus of ORT Canadas productive year of fundraising activitieshas been the multi-million dollar revitalisation campaign for the ORTNetanya Yad Lvovich High School in Israel. ORT Canadas chapters continue to hold regular, highly successfulfundraising events. In May 2005, ORT Montreals Taste of SummerAuction attracted more than 400 people and raised CAN$100,000. InNovember, 1,000 people attended the ORT Montreal Benefit Gala,raising CAN$450,000. In September, ORT Toronto hosted its inaugural Local Hero in a GlobalVillage event. Charlie Coffey, Executive Vice-President of the RBCFinancial Group, was presented with the Local Hero Award by ORTToronto President Carrie Katz-Lehman in recognition of his work toimprove the lives of many Canadians, in particular women and aboriginalpeoples. The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable JamesBartleman, addressed the event. At the 31st Annual Golden Circle Luncheon, which was also held inSeptember, the host, Debbie Kimel, was presented with an Inukshuk glasssculpture in tribute to her generosity to ORT Toronto and the citys Jewishcommunity. Victoria Malina, a doctoral student at the Weitzman Institute,Israel, spoke at the event of her experiences as a student at ORT NetanyaYad Lvovich High School.