Grassroots student-led campaign On One Foot* drove students this February from seven college campuses to compete for first place raising money for their respective local Hillels. Hillel at UCLA reached the top spot, raising $23,141.
Prior to this campaign, many students did not have an active role in development for their local Hillels. While Hillel provided students with free Shabbat dinners, stipends for fellowships, and subsidized trips to Israel, students were not involved with the financial aspect of making these initiatives happen.
On One Foot changed this, with students providing their time and resources to give back to Hillel. For the campaign, students used e-mail and their social platforms creatively to spread On One Foot’s mission: raising money for their home away from home.
“Participating in the On One Foot campaign was a natural and exciting extension of our basic approach to student engagement,” said Hillel at UCLA Associate Director of Community and Philanthropic Relations Gisèle Haykin. “Our students enthusiastically encouraged their family and friends to make donations to Hillel and the show of support we witnessed was beyond our imagination. Our ability to far exceed our $18,000 goal goes to show that the Jewish students of UCLA have genuine influence and drive."
Hillel at UCLA Student Board President Hannah Tudzin, ’17, raised over $2,600 on her personal page.
“I reached out to friends and family members that I thought of at the top of my head,” said Tudzin. “I posted on my Facebook, and my mom shared my posts—I had six donors because of her shares. I mentioned On One Foot at a family’s house for dinner, and I talked about how invested I was and what I was doing to get other students excited.”
Money that students like Tudzin fundraised at Hillel at UCLA will go toward the meditation garden, Shabbat dinners that host 250-300 people and travel grants for Israel.
“It was good for them to see what they’re raising will help us sustain the work we’re already doing,” said Haykin. “It’s important for the students to see where the money is actually going.”
The local Hillels that participated in the campaign include: Central Florida Hillel, Hillel JUC of Pittsburgh, Hillel at UCLA, The Ohio State University Hillel, Queens College Hillel, University of Denver Hillel and University of Miami Hillel. In total, students at the seven participating campuses raised $53,429.72.
“We have worked really hard to change the culture and educate our students about how Hillel operates financially,” said Hillel at UCLA Executive Director Rabbi Aaron Lerner. “Those efforts are now paying off—not only is this positive for Hillel, but as these students build their understanding of philanthropy, it will be good for our entire world.”
*Hillel International's On One Foot campaign was inspired by Hillel Ontario’s On One Foot campaign, which raised over $100,000 in this, its second year.