“Purpose” is the foundational pillar of any organization.

It is also the pillar that is the most overlooked.

It might sound redundant and unnecessary.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Please read all the way.

“Purpose” describes the reason the organization exists.

When an organization has a clearly defined Purpose, then all other aspects of the organization become easier to operate.

Purpose is composed of these parts:

  1. Vision
  2. Values
  3. Premise
  4. Promise

Let’s talk about each of these below.


  • Your community’s “Vision” is a statement that summarizes why the community was started and what is the long term goal. You may mention how your community center is different than others in the area.


  • This is a list of “values” that your community stands for.
  • Each organization is different because the values of the organization might be different.
  • For example – for one community – “Dedicated to a daily study of Torah” is the main value – so that community will attract people who want to learn daily.
  • Another community’s value might be “Connecting our community with family-focused events” – so this will attract families who want to attend events.


  • To develop your “Premise” answer this question:
    • What pain or problem does our community solve?
  • To be able to answer this question, you really need to know who your ideal community members are. So ask yourself these questions:
    • What are popular age groups? Young families with little children? Middle-aged couples with grown children? Retired people?
    • What is their financial and work status? Do they work full-time? Do they ‘rent’ or ‘own’ homes in the area?
    • What is their observance level? Do they observe Shabbat? Do they observe holidays?
  • When you find out more about the people in the community’s area, then you can learn more about what topics interest them – and – what ‘pain’ or ‘problem’ the community can help them with.
  • In addition – think about internal customers (like staff, volunteers and management) as well as external customers when you consider outcomes.


  • The “Promise” is what your community center promises as an “outcome” when people interact with your organization. What specific results and changes will community members and visitors will experience as a result of being part of the community?

Now that you have a general understanding of the 4 areas of community’s Purpose, it’s time to take an action.

Action Steps:

  1. Organize a meeting with the key people of your community center to develop your Purpose statements.
    • The attendees can include board members, rabbis and top volunteers.
    • Ideally you should allocate 1 to 2 hours for this meeting.
    • During the meeting, brainstorm the 4 areas of your community’s Purpose.
    • The outcome of this meeting should be a long list of statements.
    • It might not be perfect, but it will be a good start.
  2. Create a document called “Our community Purpose” with sections for Vision, Values, Premise and Promise.
    • Ideally this document should be hanging in your community center, and should be posted on your website.
    • Keep in mind that it’s ok to change it over time. As you continue to work with and learn about your community, you may improve and polish this document.