As The Associated’s new annual campaign chair, Steven B. Fader plans to attract more people to the federation’s work through his ‘Make Change’ initiative.

On his first day of married life 33 years ago, Steven B. Fader recalls tossing some loose change from his pockets into a plastic bucket in his home.

“I’ve been doing that every day since then, into cans, jars, drawers,” he says. “No particular reason, just a habit.”

So when he recently became chair of the annual campaign of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, Fader had a novel idea: why not ask folks to dig through their often-forgotten bins, buckets, jars, pushkes, shoe boxes, piggy banks and other containers to change people’s lives? After all, those pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters do add up.

“I wondered if there was a way to use this loose change to benefit people in need,” he says. “Twenty-five dollars in one can, $30 in another. If I could combine that change with other people doing the same thing, together we could really do some good.”

As part of this year’s campaign, The Associated will present the “Make Change” initiative, asking donors and prospective contributors to take all of the change they have lying around their homes and donate all of the proceeds to the federation.

Fader’s brainchild, the “Make Change” campaign, will be launched on Oct. 14 when The Associated holds its annual Super Sunday community phone-athon event at M&T Bank Stadium, 1101 Russell St. This year marks the first time that Super Sunday will not be held at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore.

Since 1997, Fader has served as CEO of MileOne Autogroup, the largest automotive sales and service delivery network in the mid-Atlantic region. The Towson-based company owns 72 automobile franchises covering 40 dealerships, with 27 brands, in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Under Fader’s leadership MileOne has grown from $200 million in annual revenue to nearly $3 billion in 2017.

With the 2017-18 Associated campaign reaching the $31 million mark, Fader says he hopes to exceed that number and bring in approximately 1,500 first-time donors.

“I like people who over-promise and over-deliver,” he says. “We’ll ask anyone and everyone to collect and donate loose change to this campaign. Get thousands of people doing this every day and the money will really add up.

“When The Associated asked me to head this year’s annual campaign, I was ready with a new approach, one that could involve everyone because just about everyone can give what they’ve collected in change,” Fader says. “We could get more people than ever under the tent.”

Alan Rifkin, attorney and managing partner of Rifkin, Weiner, Livingston LLC in Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., has known Fader for decades.

“We grew up together,” says Rifkin. “He’s an extraordinary person, and he’s also extraordinarily generous. His family has always been that way. It’s part of his DNA. So it’s no surprise that he leads The Associated’s annual campaign, and it couldn’t be in better hands.”

Marc B. Terrill, president and CEO of The Associated, praised the “Make Change” concept.

“We have always believed that any gift — no matter how big or small — can make a difference in the lives of those searching for a better future,” Terrill says. “The ‘Make Change’ campaign is an easy way for everyone to get involved and collectively make an impact. By pooling our pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, each of us can make real and lasting change in our community.”

Fader, 61, who lives in Owings Mills with his wife, Judi, says he truly believes that having donors dig deep for small change can really make a major difference in the lives of people who benefit from the work of The Associated and its constituent agencies and programs.

We’ll do this by letting them know that loose change, when pooled together, can bring about real change for good in the Jewish community and in the wider community,” he says. “Along with the small change collection, we’ve already begun approaching major corporations to match the gifts the ‘Make Change’ campaign attracts. We’re talking with PNC, M&T Bank, the Ravens and many others about matching $25,000, $50,000, $75,000 or $100,000 in donations.”

Fader says he realizes that not all donors will necessarily embrace the “Make Change” concept. As a result, The Associated has created a special app for the campaign.

“In fact, my 29-year-old son, Michael, is among those who raised an objection,” he says. “He said, ‘Dad, people my age don’t carry around change. We don’t use money. We use plastic.’ So The Associated has just created a special credit card program. Every time you use it, your payment is rounded up and automatically given to the ‘Make Change’ campaign.  If you buy lunch for $9.75, 25 cents automatically goes directly to The Associated’s annual campaign.

“Multiply that by hundreds of times a year by thousands of donors and you get a really significant total.  By going to The Associated website, people can sign up.”

Fader says he plans to devote much of his time and energy to this year’s campaign because “this community has been good to me. I draw strength from it, so it’s my time to give back.”

And he believes the “Make Change” campaign will resonate with local Jewish families, some of whom might have never previously been involved with The Associated.

Jewish parents who give will be passing down the age-old tradition of tzedakah to their children,” says Fader, a Beth Tfiloh congregant and father of three. “Of course, their children of just about any age can contribute, too. Everyone, every single man, woman and child in our community, can participate in the ‘Make Change’ campaign. And to the recipients, the ‘Make Change’ campaign can make all the difference in their lives.”

To participate in the “Make Change” campaign, visit associated.org/change or go directly https://theassociated.harnessapp.com to sign up for the round up app. Another way to sign up is text the word Associated to 43506 and you will get a link sent to your phone. For information about Super Sunday and the watch party at M&T Bank Stadium later that afternoon for the Ravens-Titans game, contact Linda Cohen at lcohen@associated.org or call 410-369-9250.

Peter Arnold is an Olney, Md.-based freelance writer.