You Belong Here has emerged as a key organizing principle for Bet Shalom Congregation. This principle guides our lay leadership, clergy, and staff in fostering a deep sense of belonging within our congregants, whether gathered in the synagogue or in the wider community. Furthermore, You Belong Here serves as the theme of our Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign, which is designed to sustain Bet Shalom for many years to come.

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Case Statement

Dedicated to the principles of Reform Judaism since our founding in 1981, Bet Shalom always has honored the tradition of keeping one eye on the present and the other eye on the future. Today is no different, and it’s time for us to expand our resources for future generations of Bet Shalom members.

The Board of Trustees has designated and assigned the Comprehensive Fundraising Committee (CFC) the task of raising $7.15 million over the next three years. While this is an ambitious goal, we believe it is essential to a strong future for our congregation. In addition to Rabbi Locketz and Board President Phil Ecker, Vice President Adam Cohen will chair the CFC. Executive Director Steve Barberio will guide the day-to-day operations of the campaign.

“Members of the Board in the past knew that in order to become a strong stable congregation, they had to raise money to fund the infrastructure of a modern Reform synagogue. Their leadership showed us that this is necessary and now it’s our time to do the same thing,” says Phil Ecker, President of the Bet Shalom Board of Trustees.

What is the need? The building is aging, the mortgage is a drag on operational funding, programs and services need an infusion of capital to meet changing needs and demographics, and the security system must be upgraded. Our Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign has three key components:

1. Sustainable Vitality: Our goal is to raise $2.98 million to retire our mortgage, invest in new program development, increase security on our campus, and enhance our programs for youth.

 2.  Bayit Shelanu (Our House): This was the name of our building campaign in the late 1990’s. Now almost 18 years later, we must invest in the refurbishment of our physical space and build a capital reserve for future repairs and improvements.

 3. Etz Chaim (Tree of Life): So far, more than $5 million has been pledged to the Bet Shalom Endowment. Our goal now is to raise an additional $2.5 million so that the endowment will generate $300,000 in interest per year to put toward operations. 

Although we are a relatively young congregation, we must recognize that we are the caretakers of Bet Shalom for a relatively short period of time. We ask that you accept the challenge presented by Rabbi Locketz, the Board of Trustees, and the CFC to ensure that our congregational home and programs are sustained for future generations, because they belong here, too.

Campaign Results

You Belong Here is a campaign for the future of Reform Judaism at Bet Shalom. Having a sacred space where congregants can worship, study, and gather is vital to sustaining this congregation for future generations. Our Board has determined that we need to raise $7.15 million.

This comprehensive fundraising campaign is structured to enhance and grow current programs, invest in improvements to a physical space that is now 18 years old, and add to the long-term investments of the Bet Shalom Endowment. The results of our efforts will:

1. Retire the mortgage, thereby freeing nearly $125,000 annually for future operations. 

2. Upgrade the security of our physical spaces, ensuring the well-being of congregants as we gather, socialize, worship, and pray.

3. Invest in program development, adapting to the changing dynamics of Jewish life in the Twin Cities and meeting our needs as they evolve.

4. Repair our playground, making it safer for our youngest members to learn and play.

5. Refurbish the floors throughout the building, making them safer and more attractive.

6. Replace the parking lot, which has outlived its life expectancy.

7. Address long-overdue repairs to our roof and HVAC system.

8. Set aside at least $500,000 as a capital reserve for future unavoidable repairs.

9. Increase the Bet Shalom Endowment to $7.5 million so that it eventually will spin off $300,000 per year to our operating budget.

 As you can see, these are not frivolous goals.  Our plans are critical to the sustainability of Bet Shalom for many years to come. Please join us by making a pledge today. 

Our Future Begins Now

Now is the time for our congregation to invest in the future of Bet Shalom. We have a strong membership base, better data management systems emerging, and the tools necessary to move the congregation forward. 

Our goal is for every member of the congregation to participate. Every dollar helps, and all contributors will be recognized. We ask  everyone to consider a meaningful gift that reflects their commitment to Bet Shalom. Some ideas for you to think about: 

-One year of one-on-one support to a Religious School student with special needs: $3,000
-One week of BSY teacher salaries: $14,400
-One monthly mortgage payment: $10,400

-New carpet in the Auditorium: $18,000
-Replace the roof: $150,000
-Cover/Replace the concrete floors: $175,000

How You Can Contribute

Regardless of the size of your donation, you can choose to target your investment into one or more of the three areas of the campaign: Sustainable Vitality, Bayit Shelanu (building), or Etz Chaim (endowment), depending on where your passions lie.

To discuss your donation, please contact Executive Director Steve Barberio, Campaign Chair and Board of Trustees Vice President Adam Cohen, or Board of Trustees President Phil Ecker. We will be happy to meet with you to discuss your pledge that can be paid over three years. 

The CFC has approved multiple ways to recognize donations to the You Belong Here campaign. Contributions of $1,800 plus will be named on a special You Belong Here lobby plaque. And, for the first time in Bet Shalom history, larger gifts will be acknowledged through the  dedication of spaces in the building and on the grounds. Some examples of room dedication opportunities include: 

Those who wish to make an anonymous donation are welcome to do so. Some may wish to contribute toward the naming of the sanctuary as the Norman M. Cohen Sanctuary. 

Other ways to contribute to the You Belong Here campaign include:

-IRA Distribution
-Estate Plan

You Belong Here Campaign Committee

Adam Cohen, Chair
Phil Ecker, President
Adam Krasnoff, Treasurer
Rabbi David Locketz
Steve Barberio

Dale Bluestein
Sally Bressler
Andrea Kidder
Harry Long
Rob Kieval

Alan Mendelsohn
John Rosenberg
Anita Lurye Silver
Jodi Upin
Brandon Walzer

A Family Of Friends

Since our founding, we have had many great leaders at Bet Shalom. Today, we have an outstanding Board of Trustees that is fully engaged in the work of the congregation through our committees and by partnering with Rabbi Locketz, Rabbi Crimmings, and Steve Barberio. We have a dynamic clergy and strong staff that works very well together, as well as committees that work hard to address the needs of the entire congregation.

This is an excellent time for us to launch this campaign. We have assembled an outstanding committee to lead our You Belong Here comprehensive campaign. The CFC is led by Adam Cohen and Phil Ecker, and it also includes past presidents, long-time members, other Board members, and newer congregants. If you’d like to help, please contact:

Steve Barberio

Adam Cohen