JCF Helps Provide Funding for New and Innovative Programs
The following is a reprint of the JCF's Money Matters column, published in the May 17, 2023 issue of the Jewish Community Voice:
As challenging as it may sometimes be, we can all benefit by stepping out of our comfort zones to try something new. These experiences can help us grow and reach new achievements.
The same goes for nonprofits and synagogues.
For these organizations, funding must be considered when taking on a new project, but, frankly, money may not always be available in the budget. To help our community’s nonprofits and synagogues secure much-needed dollars for these initiatives, and thus grow as an organization, the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. provides funding via JCF Grants of up to $5,000 each.
Since our first grants cycle over 20 years ago, we have awarded upwards of $2-million in JCF Grants to support over 1,000 programs and services. Along the way, it has been a rewarding experience for the JCF, awardees, and community members alike.
This spring, we provided over $40,000 in JCF Grants to benefit 22 new and innovative programs and services that will help myriad local residents. In fact, based on our tracking data, an average of 3,000 individuals are positively impacted in numerous ways per JCF Grants cycle.
For example, mental health has emerged as a vital topic in recent years, particularly as a byproduct of the Covid-19 pandemic. To alleviate the challenges that we all face in addressing mental health, several local organizations have developed extraordinary programs and services on short notice. JCF Grants have helped to close the funding gap for initiatives that address mental health, including:
• JCC Camps at Medford’s “Care Team,” whereby mental health professionals were hired to support campers and staff as they returned to interacting with others following long-term separation during the pandemic.
• Jewish Family & Children’s Service’s “Cooking Companions,” to counter isolation and poor nutrition faced by older adults who may be homebound or could generally benefit from in-person socializing and learning new cooking techniques.
• Temple Beth Sholom’s “Healing Services,” which are intended to uplift participants by hiring professional musicians who provide solace via Zoom during the pandemic and beyond.
The JCF’s Grants Committee, co-chaired by Rhona Cohen and Andi Levin, encourages local organizational leaders to use their skills in creativity, visioning, and understanding the needs of the community to request JCF Grant funding for new and innovative programs and services.
Said Cohen, “When donors create endowment funds for the purpose of perpetuating JCF Grants, they do so knowing that none of us can predict future needs of the community, but money will be available to help as these needs arise. These grant dollars make a big difference year after year in allowing our wonderful local nonprofits and synagogues to address issues in the community in resourceful and effective ways.”
Levin added, “We see time and time again how JCF Grant funding can effect change in so many ways, and it’s incredibly inspiring. Whether it’s the Jewish Community Relations Council hosting the ADL’s anti-bias training for teachers, which, in turn, impacts hundreds of students, or it’s Temple Har Zion creating ways to make their services more accessible to those with disabilities, there’s a positive ripple effect throughout South Jersey.”
Although the next deadline to apply for JCF Grants isn’t until October 20, we recommend thinking ahead about potential needs, particularly since many organizations are now budgeting for 2024.
We want to help you earn a JCF Grant so your organization can break out of its comfort zone and grow, all while helping others in meaningful ways.