On Nov. 12, the Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries (FIRM) hosted an online-only gala event from the balcony of their Jerusalem offices with a goal to raise funds for 25 local Israeli ministries.
“Because of the global pandemic, tour groups did not travel to Israel this year,” said FIRM CEO Michael Mistretta. “We also had to cancel our annual conference, Jerusalem Encounter. This year, more than ever, we saw it was time to try something new,” he continued. “In faith, we decided to host a digital event that would reflect the generosity of our ministry partners in a year like 2020.”
FIRM invited 40-50 couples – trusted friends and partners – to join them for a one-hour online gala, where they would raise funds and invest 100% of the proceeds into various ministries. The ministries can be categorized based on 5 specific needs within Israel: to rescue women from sex trafficking, to find new ways to spread the Gospel, to equip and disciple Israeli leaders, and to provide a safe home for at-risk children, and to help congregations pivot to digital.
“There was an excitement to be together that evening. The event was a huge success,” said Mistretta. “Within the first 30 minutes, we raised over $252,000 from pledges (exceeding our initial target of $240,000).” Later, FIRM received an additional $65,000 from donations after the event.
“Our partners continued to give even after we surpassed the initial goal. There were others who couldn’t come to the gala so they decided to donate after the fact,” said Mistretta. “We were blown away.”
Mistretta feels the success of the gala was a testimony to the importance of unity among the believers. He says that ministries will raise more funds and be a bigger blessing to the community when they work together, instead of competing against each other.
The virtual gala was held by FIRM as part of this year’s broader RISE UP Campaign, with the ultimate goal to raise and give away one million dollars to various ministry partners in Israel during 2020.
“This gala significantly closed the gap and resulted in a strong finish for the year,” said Mistretta. “In fact, we expect the generosity of our partners will positively impact at least 10,000 Israeli lives.”
About Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries (FIRM): FIRM exists to empower local
ministries to transform Israel. FIRM is your hub for Gospel-centered, effective work in Israel. Our supporters are blessing God’s people and land through local ministries in the Land of the Bible, all with a focus on building up and unifying the local Body of believers there.