ORTs new united voice in America


10 January 2006 ORTs new united voice in America American ORT (AO) and Womens American ORT (WAO) are to consolidate their two organisations into a more efficient and united entity. The historic move has been welcomed by World ORT Director General Robert Singer as heralding a new beginning for the ORT networks most important fundraising region. The merger is the considered result of some four years of discussions that have examined how best ORTs loyal and committed supporters in the United States can best be served, Mr Singer said. The whole ORT family is delighted that we will have a unified presence in America that can present our achievements with a clear voice and garner support even more effectively. It is particularly appropriate that such a momentous development should come as our 125th anniversary year draws to a close. AO was founded in 1922 and WAO in 1927; their consolidation is the direct result of an eight-person Restructuring Committee comprising four members of each organisation, including AO President Joe Cohen and WAO President Judy Menikoff. The new entity, whose name has yet to be decided, will operate more efficiently, combining direct mail, the website, marketing and public relations materials as well as fundraising and planned giving. The consolidation will also eliminate the duplication of services and provide extensive cost savings for both organisations. This is an incredible opportunity for American ORT and Womens American ORT to unite our messages and speak with a single voice, Mr Cohen said. By uniting our organisations and speaking with one, more powerful, voice ORT will operate more efficiently and have a stronger presence in the United States. Ms Menikoff said: Joining forces will enable us to strengthen our US fundraising and outreach activities and create a more vibrant organisation. Harnessing the resources of our individual organisations will increase funding of the global ORT programme and allow us to operate with greater synergy. WAOs current Executive Director, Hope Kessler, will be responsible for consolidating operations and staff functions in the coming months as well as locating a site for the new organisations offices. Ms Kessler will serve as Executive Director of the new organisation. Hope Kessler Consolidating Womens American ORT and American ORT is becoming a reality after being talked about for many years, Ms Kessler said. Ultimately, the biggest beneficiaries will be the students ORT serves in Israel, the former Soviet Union, Argentina and in struggling Jewish communities around the world. Ms Kessler has spent more than 25 years in fundraising, primarily in the health care field. Before coming to ORT, Ms Kessler headed the New York University Medical Centre as Vice Dean of Development in which role she completed an ambitious $750 million capital campaign.