A Strategic Plan for 2050

They say hindsight is 2020 vision.  As the President of JCA I would like our community to have the foresight to plan for the future.  With this in mind, JCA has commenced work on a 2050 Strategic Plan for the NSW Jewish Community. The plan is intended to be carried out over the next two to three years and based on current trends, will assess the evolving needs of our community over the next 30 years.

I think we can all agree (Covid-19 aside) that change is upon us. With an aging Jewish population, declining immigration and a shifting demography, it has become clear that our duty is not only to address the immediate requirements of our community, but also to try to anticipate and plan for our future needs.

In consultation with our key stakeholders, we hope to facilitate the development of the 2050 strategy to guide current and future investment in NSW (and ACT) Jewish community services, assets and infrastructure to ensure that our community remains inclusive, safe, resilient, connected and sustainable.

The first stage of the plan will incorporate research into changing community demographics, trend identification and mapping and a community asset audit and needs assessment.

The following stages will include an intensive community consultation process where findings on the trends and shifting community needs will be presented to the community and broader stakeholders to encourage community engagement and participation in the process. This will help us to better understand competing community needs and priorities, informing the development of the vision for the future NSW Jewish community and the 2050 strategy.

It is intended that the plan will include not only JCA member organisation services and infrastructure but also other important community organisations such as synagogues and is envisioned to incorporate other key socio-economic and spatial drivers such as long-term state infrastructure and planning initiatives. 

It is an ambitious, but necessary plan and we are confident that with the ongoing support of JCA’s member organisations, our donors and supporters and in fact, the whole of our vibrantly diverse community, we will be able to facilitate the development of this important long-term plan, for the benefit and sustainability of the next generation of NSW Jewry.

Other key priorities that I will be addressing during my term as President will include succession planning and strengthening fundraising. 

It is crucial that JCA looks at successful succession planning.  Mentoring, supporting and nurturing the next generation of leaders to encompass diversity and thought leadership will also help meet our long-term objectives. 

When I look around our boardroom during executive meetings, I know we’re on the right track – the average age of the people at the table is 46, and we are a diverse group (40% female) of people with different and appropriate skill sets. We must put into practice what we are trying to achieve – and that’s the effective handover of the reins to the next generation that will lead us into the future.  They’re the people that will care for our seniors, champion our culture, strengthen our advocacy, honour the memory of the Holocaust and ensure Jewish education for the next generation.  Empowering them to do these things by giving them the chance to shine whilst still mentoring and advising is the key to our success.

I’m focussed on the future.  And the future calls on all of us to be creative, resourceful and to imagine new possibilities and look at our world through fresh eyes.

Finally, JCA’s raison d’étre is fundraising.  I was passionate about this during my years as CEO as well as those thereafter when I actively canvassed for JCA during their campaign.  It is as important now to not only raise funds for those organisations that are current JCA members, but to also increase our dollars so that we can welcome new member organisations that are becoming increasingly relevant to our community. This increased relevance is how I expect JCA to expand its donor base to include the younger demographic and ultimately for the community to continue thriving into the future.   

I thank everyone who has been part of JCA’s journey to this point and those who have given tirelessly and generously over the years.  Every dollar counts and has made a difference.  Community is something that’s in my blood, it’s like a beating heart.  With a strong team around me and around our community we are geared for success.  We are geared for the future, and I am honoured to work on your behalf.

Ian Sandler, President, JCA

As published in Australian Jewish News (11 June 2021)