In 2006, the United Jewish Federation commissioned a study to determine the feasibility of a development campaign to fund transformative change in the Pittsburgh Jewish community. The effort would build an endowment to fund initiatives to assure the vitality of the Jewish community immediately and into the future. The study noted that such a campaign was feasible — but only with the full participation of Jewish community leaders.
In 2009 the Giant Eagle Foundation, together with David and Cindy Shapira, committed to a lead gift of $4 million in the form of a matching grant to launch CFJF. The lead gift is uniquely designed to match major contributions and advance the amount of the entire lead donation so that funds can have an immediate impact.
By spring 2011 CFJF began its Community Phase by celebrating more than $14 million in commitments to date, exceeding the initial goal to raise $12 million in 12 months. CFJF is already is funding numerous programs that promote Jewish continuity in the Pittsburgh region. CFJF Founders expect to raise at least an additional $13 million by 2012, when the Public Phase of the campaign will coincide with the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh's 100th Anniversary.
"Indeed, 150 years of Jewish jokes and 2,000 years of folklore and witticisms have the uncanny ability to express truths that sociological or other academic studies usually miss."
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Humor: What the Best Jewish Jokes Say About the Jews