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 Leadership Briefing 
The Jewish Federations of North America - The Strength of a People. The Power of Community.
Jim Joseph Foundation Awards $1M to Federations to Support Hurricane Sandy Victims
March 7, 2013

To help families whose lives were disrupted by Hurricane Sandy to access Jewish educational experiences, the Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). The grant – for families in New Jersey and Connecticut – will provide subsidies for Jewish day and congregational schools, Jewish camps, youth volunteer activities, and social service programming needs. The grant comes as the recovery from the devastating hurricane continues, with many families still feeling a deep financial impact.

The grant will be administered by JFNA on behalf of seven Jewish Federations and two JFNA Independent Network communities in areas heavily damaged by last fall’s storm in New Jersey and Connecticut. Because of significant expenses for relocation and restoration, many families face economic shortfalls that threaten their ability to access Jewish education for their children. These subsidies will help families to continue engaging in meaningful Jewish experiences without having to choose between recovery and the cost of Jewish education for their children.

The Jewish Federation system across the continent has raised $7.4 million to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy. The funds already have gone toward basic amenities like food, clothing and housing, and will continue to be allocated for long-term needs. The new grant will complement that support.

“We deeply appreciate the generous grant by the Jim Joseph Foundation for victims of Hurricane Sandy in our community,” said Cheryl Fishbein, chair of JFNA’s Emergency Committee. “This assistance will allow many of the hardest-hit families to continue to offer their children meaningful Jewish experiences even as they struggle to recover from the disaster.”

The Jim Joseph Foundation, established in 2006, is devoted to fostering compelling, effective Jewish learning experiences for young Jews in the United States. The Foundation does not award grants to individuals for direct tuition assistance. However, the Board is guided by the principle that grants to established Jewish organizations that know their constituencies can provide support for Jewish educational experiences that families would otherwise have to forsake. 

The Foundation first implemented a similar grant-making strategy following Hurricane Katrina and again early in the 2008 recession. Last month, the Foundation announced a $1 million grant to UJA-Federation of New York specifically for tuition/enrollment subsidies for Jewish day schools and summer camps.

According to Foundation officials, there is a void in the public response to a disaster once the immediate crisis has passed. This grant was developed after local Federations in affected communities assessed their greatest needs and reported back to JFNA. The Foundation Board of Directors hope this grant will galvanize others now to step up.

“We understand that families need immediate humanitarian assistance after a disaster of this magnitude,” says Al Levitt, president of the Jim Joseph Foundation. “Yet, after those needs have been addressed and the media coverage moves on, there still is a critical need to assist Jewish families return to a sense of normalcy.”

“This financial assistance addresses the problem by helping families access the array of meaningful Jewish experiences that are central to their lives – be they Jewish day schools, camps, or youth volunteer and social service programming. We have a responsibility to ensure that young Jews – in formative years of their lives – continue to engage in learning opportunities that are proven to shape their Jewish journeys.”

The Jewish Federations of North America
Wall Street Station
PO Box 157
New York, NY 10268

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