My story


by Judy Coran, Annual Campaign Chair

I grew up in a household where giving was just part of life. I watched my dad work so hard every day in his dental practice, and then turn around and donate those hard-earned dollars to a variety of charitable organizations including the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. My father didn’t drive a fancy car, and we did not go on expensive vacations. In fact, we always drove to our vacation destinations—even if that destination was California. There were six of us, and flying was very expensive. Despite all of this, my parents were grateful for what they had, and that they could give. They NEVER missed their yearly gift to the Federation. My parents were my role models. 

As I grew up, I participated in a whole host of programs supported by Federation dollars including BBYO, Camp Interlaken and Jewish day camp. I spent hours upon hours swimming in the JCC pool and taking classes there. These programs were a huge part of my family’s life and contributed to my Jewish identity. It’s why I’m Annual Campaign Chair today. 

After I completed medical school, residency, and fellowship, I moved back to Milwaukee with my own family and was grateful that the institutions that shaped my siblings and me were still there to impact my children’s lives. Because of the generosity of my parents and their peers, our young family participated in activities at many of the same Federation supported institutions.    

As the kids got older, and my career progressed, I found myself in a position to give back to the very community – this community- which had provided so much for me and my family. But how was I going to choose where to give my money? Where should I get involved? What was right for my husband and me? 

Federation was at the top of the list. I had been personally impacted by the work the Federation does, and I wanted to give back. I also wanted to help ensure that the programs that so positively impacted my life were going to be around to continue influencing the lives of other Jewish families in Milwaukee.  

I remember attending a Federation event where Alina Spaulding spoke about her life in Russia and how unfairly her family had been treated. It struck a chord with me because I understood not only Federation’s local impact but how our overseas partners intervene to support Jews in Israel and every corner of the world. She ended her speech by saying, “Everything I have, and everything I will accomplish, and everything my children have and will accomplish is because of the Federation.”  I was sold. 

And so I started my volunteer career with the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, holding a variety of positions leading to my role today as Annual Campaign Chair. Our giving began slowly, but I am proud that our gift steadily increased 10% every year. And this year we will proudly join the King David Society, increasing once again because of the huge and immediate needs of our Jewish community. 

Now we find ourselves in the most difficult of times. I am asking you to help us save our Jewish community, to keep it vibrant and supported. Our agencies have gone without the usual funds coming in from people who have stopped using their facilities. Our schools have needed to make expensive changes in order to open safely. Our neighbors are in need of the most basic necessities. Your gift is needed now more than ever.  

Future generations will measure us by the standard of a 2,000-year-old Talmudic mandateKol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh, All Jews are responsible for one another.  

I am asking you to please step up and help keep this wonderful Milwaukee Jewish community.  Please make a meaningful gift to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s 2021 Annual Campaign and help us to persevere through this most difficult of times. Thank you!