That was the message resonating from the Brannon Road home, which now doubles as Forsyth County’s first synagogue, Monday afternoon as Chabad of Forsyth County’s 24-hour “all or nothing” fundraiser came to a close.
“In 24 hours, we saw the love, passion and care of the community coming together,” said Rabbi Levi Mentz, Chabad’s leader. “When we – our community – come together for a common goal and focus on making families lives better through education, family and community connections, we can accomplish the most amazing things.”
The fundraiser, which raised $255,693 — $85,000 more than Chabad’s initial goal of $170,000 — began at noon on Sunday, Aug. 13 and ended at 11:59 a.m. Monday, Aug. 14.
The money raised will go towards the establishment of north Georgia’s first Jewish Community Center, though Mentz said the locale will be a place for people of any religion.
“The Jewish community that has been living here over the years has been so hungry to have a place to come together,” he said. “We want to have a place to worship as a Jewish people, a place to celebrate, be inspired and study. But this place will also be a beacon of light, and everyone will find a way to benefit from this location. It will not only benefit the Jewish population, but it will benefit every resident here.”
The fundraiser, which had support “from every demographic throughout the county,” was unique, Mentz said.
“We had three donor matching groups, so every dollar that was donated was quadrupled, but because it was all or nothing, donations would only be processed if we reached our [$170,000] goal,” he said. “The outpouring of support was so powerful and, in my opinion, this was the greatest 24-hour investment in Forsyth County.
“The campaign’s [success] tells us so much about our county and its growth and the type of county everybody wants to see. This was about the many people who care about Forsyth County and care and understand the [importance of] its growth.”
Fundraiser matchers included Board of Commissioners Chairman Todd Levent, former BOC member Marcie Kreager, local doctors Joel Hoffman and Scott Cooper and others.
Mentz said though raising $255,000 was a feat, the community still has work to do.
“We purchased the [Brannon Road] property for $485,000,” he said. “We’ve been planning with our building and grounds committee to put $30,000 to $50,000 initially into the existing property to make it workable; that will be enough so that it can be honorable and comfortable, but we know it’s not a long-term structure.
“The rest of that money will go into the mortgage, so we still need to raise another $250,000 or so. Monday was an unbelievable blessing, but we need to stay focused and we still have major steps that need to be taken before we start moving dirt and building.”
While Chabad doesn’t currently have another fundraiser like its most recent campaign planned for the near future, Mentz said at the entrance of the community center Chabad will build a wall of honor that people can purchase spots on for $2,500, $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000.
Their names will be inscribed into the wall as founding sponsors of the center, though Chabad will not add any additional names to the wall once the $485,000 for the land mortgage is reached.
Mentz called community members who helped with this weekend’s fundraiser heroes.
“Everything can be accomplished when we’re able to come together,” he said. “There’s nothing more powerful than unity, and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. The heroes of yesterday are everyone who stepped up to the plate. When we focus on what we can do collectively, it’s the community members that are the heroes.”