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Special Project

Special Project
From the 10th Annual Shorty Awards

Calling All Big Ideas: Shape Your New York!

Finalist in Polls & Surveys

Entered in Non-Profit


UJA is the largest local philanthropy in the world. Based in New York, we care for people in need, respond to crises close to home and far away, and shape our Jewish future. For over 100 years, our approach to how we meet these needs has remained the same. We ask experts: "What are today's most urgent challenges?" From there, we distribute funds to various agencies, nonprofits, and programs that address those needs.

To mark our centennial, we launched a campaign with two objectives: 1) prove that even a 100-year-old institution can be innovative and adapt to our ever-changing world and 2) get the attention and involvement of groups, communities, and individuals who weren't currently involved with UJA in any capacity. So, we flipped our traditional fund-allocation model on its head and asked our community to develop and vote on "big ideas" to make our community a more welcoming and inclusive place.

Strategy and Execution

We began by calling on our community to submit proposals for a $250,000 grant that addresses the question above. We received 32 comprehensive proposals in just two weeks and narrowed them down to four innovative projects, each focusing on a different aspect of inclusion. To get the word out about this campaign, we took a multi-channel approach and leveraged Facebook advertising, Instagram, email, and digital display ads. We also created a microsite where people could learn about the different ideas through videos and submit their vote. Before voting closed, we held a Facebook Live event where we invited a representative from each proposal to pitch their idea across our Facebook channel and respond to questions from our Facebook fans in real time. Voting was opened for 10 days. In order to successfully vote, people had to submit their name, email address, and ZIP code so we could collect leads. We then publicly announced the winner and began the process of making this "big idea" a reality. This campaign was unique in the sense that it was almost entirely community-driven and encouraged transparency between big institutions and the communities they serve.


Overall, the campaign helped UJA's broader goal of positioning UJA, a 100-year-old legacy institution, as a trustworthy and relevant player in the New York landscape. Over the course of the year, we measured our brand favorability score, which increased 13%. This campaign helped move the needle on this score, and specifically achieved:


Entrant Company / Organization Name

UJA-Federation of New York