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March 1, 2007



The UJC Emergency Committee recently approved more $2.1 million in funding for those impacted by Hurricane Katrina, bringing to more than $20 million in aid UJC has allocated for victims in the Jewish and general communities..


These recent allocations culminate the major portion of the UJC/Federation disaster response, which raised more than $28.5 million since the August, 2005 storm and ensuing flooding. Of all contributions, most of them via a UJC-coordinated continential mailbox fundraiser, UJC received and allocated $20.1 million, with federations sending the rest directly to individuals and relief groups, about half of which went to support evacuees in their new host communities.


"From even before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, UJC has been working with Gulf Coast communities to assure that the continental federation system brought its full weight to bear on helping those whose lives were affected by this catastrophe," said UJC Emergency Committee Chair Carol Smokler.


"Whether delivering emergency aid in the hurricane's wake, helping evacuees get back on their feet and recovering their lives, or helping rebuild communal organizations, the UJC/Federation system was responsible for one of the most effective, and powerful, responses to Hurricane Katrina."


Ultimately, 75 percent of UJC/Federation Hurricane Katrina relief went directly to the Jewish community, while 25 percent went to the general community (including Jewish organizations helping Jews and non-Jews).


Last month's Katrina allocations by the UJC Emergency Committee, totaling $2,107,651, included;


- $1.01 million in escrow for the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans to continue the two-year Jewish Community Stabilization Plan, which was launched with the Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge and the Biloxi, Ms. Network community, as well as the transfer of $195,720 for the New Orleans federation as part of the two-year plan;


- $450,000 for the Jewish Funds for Justice to expand its capacity to make loans and promote financial development projects in the New Orleans area;


- $400,000 for Grantmakers in Aging-Hurricane Fund for the Elderly, for six New Orleans projects dealing with geriatric care, low-income residents, community housing, legal aid for home rebuilding; senior job-training; and social services for low-income elderly;


- $126,600 to the Mental Health Association of Mississsippi, Gulfport and its Project Resilience; Strong Preschoolers, Strong Parents, to work with pre-school children who suffer from, or are at risk of, post-traumatic stress disorder;


- $65,000 to Kaboom! Operation Playground, to fund the construction of a playground in a New Orleans neighborhood (UJC has already funded a similar project in Long Beach, Ms., which is due to break ground March 14);


- $50,000 to the New York Board of Rabbis, to extend the capacity of a pastoral care counselor stationed for two years in Mississippi, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.


In the coming months the UJC Emergency Committee may consider further aid proposals if funding becomes available.


In the past two years, UJC worked with dozens of Jewish organizations, as well as those in the general community, to oversee a disaster relief strategy that created a blueprint for effective emergency responses in the future. UJC was among the major charitable organizations to be invited to the White House to be recognized for their Katrina aid last year.


Disaster relief partners in the Jewish community included: the American Jewish Committee; B'nai B'rith; the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; the Association of Jewish & Family Children’s Agencies; the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; the International Association of Jewish Vocational Services; the JCCs of North America; the Jewish Education Service of North America; the Jewish FundS for Justice; the Jewish Funders Network; the American Jewish World Service; Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger; Hadassah; Hillel: the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life; CLAL - the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership; the Orthodox Union; the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; the Union for Reform Judaism; Chabad; and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

"The UJC/Federation response to Hurricane Katrina demonstrated our continental federation system at one of its finest hours, coming together to achieve a greater impact for those in need than any one community could have made alone," said UJC Board of Trustees Chair Joe Kanfer, of Akron.


UJC Emergency Committee members and other federation and communal professionals and lay leaders are scheduled to return to the Gulf Coast March 5-7 to meet with aid recipients and see first-hand how the UJC/Federation Katrina response continues to help the area recover.


The committee first toured the region one year ago to gauge the initial impact of the funding. A video about the UJC/Federation Katrina relief effort, based on that visit, is available from UJC. For details, please contact Joe Berkofsky, director of communications, at


For general information on the UJC/Federation response, go to this page on the UJC Web site, or click here for a list of major allocations. For more details, please contact Howard Feinberg, at