3 Questions for Diana Fiedotin
Director, Strategic Relations, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
Q: How Does JDC Help Fix a Broken World?
A: JDC’s number one priority is saving Jewish lives around the globe. Funds are raised primarily in North America and Atlanta is a key partner in this joint endeavor. For Jewish elderly who are impoverished, isolated, and frail, we provide food, medicine, and compassionate home care so they can live with dignity. We provide Jewish children living in dire circumstances with nutritional support and services that help them go to school and participate in the local Jewish community, creating pathways to a better future. True to our historic mission of meeting not only physical needs but spiritual ones, we build Jewish life and identity from Buenos Aires to Budapest and Minsk to Mumbai. Through camping, JCCs, teen and young adult programming, and workshops for volunteers and community professionals, we are raising up a new generation of Jewish leaders. We also leverage our expertise to provide a Jewish response to natural disasters, providing immediate humanitarian relief and longer-term recovery assistance for communities in crisis.
Q: What Was Your Pathway to the Work You Do for American JDC?
A: My parents are from Argentina. When the country’s economy collapsed at the end of 2001, I started a fundraiser at my synagogue to collect money for the Jewish community there. We used the money to provide food and medicine, to keep kids in Jewish day schools, to support the Jewish children’s home, and to cover rent and housing expenses to keep families from losing their homes. JDC – affectionately known as The Joint, was my partner. I gave them the money with instructions, and they got the money into the country and distributed funds to the local agencies efficiently and effectively on behalf of all who donated. One day they called and said it would be easier if I worked for them rather than with them as a volunteer, so I made the career change. It’s the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.
Q: What Keeps You Excited About Your Work?
A: Knowing that JDC makes a real difference in the lives of so many is simply the greatest motivator. Helping people thrive, or at least live with a bit more dignity and ease, creating opportunities for others to grow up Jewish, and knowing that we are there in times of crisis – that they are not alone – is something greater than any one of us, but needs each of us. We are mandated to leave this world better than we found it. JDC does that every day for hundreds of thousands of people and I am lucky that I get to be part of such a meaningful enterprise.