July 17, 2024
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Jewish Communal Fund Announces Grants of $1.35 Million to Jewish Charities From Special Gifts Fund

In addition to JCF’s $2 million gift to UJA-Federation of New York, its Special Gifts Fund is providing funds for a kosher food pantry, a sensory gym for children with special needs, Jewish day camp scholarships and more.

Jewish Communal Fund (JCF), the largest and most active Jewish donor-advised fund in the country, approved grants totaling $1.35 million to local Jewish charities in the New York area through its endowment, the JCF Special Gifts Fund. Since 1999, the board of trustees of the Jewish Communal Fund has granted more than $13 million to support programs that promote the welfare and security of the Jewish community at home and abroad. These charities are selected with the assistance of UJA-Federation of New York.

“Our fund holders choose JCF to facilitate their charitable giving because they appreciate our quality service and the streamlining of their philanthropy,” said Jenny Lyss, chair of Jewish Communal Fund’s Charitable Distribution/Special Gifts Fund Committee. “In addition to directing their own grants to the charities they care about, their fees enable JCF to make significant grants from its endowment to support the Jewish charitable institutions that are doing such incredible work on the ground, helping to care for children, the elderly, the poor and others in need in our community and beyond.”

This year’s Special Gift Fund Grantees include:

$500,000 for the Digital Choice Food Pantry at the Central Queens Y Community Resource Hub

Nearly half a million of New York’s Jews live in poverty. In Central Queens, UJA-Federation of New York is launching one of two Community Resource Hubs, which will provide employment services, free legal services and a kosher food pantry. JCF’s grant will fund the establishment of a digital food pantry ordering system, enabling clients to log in online to choose the foods that best meet their families’ needs. This new system will reduce lines and wait times at the pantry, reduce food waste and, most importantly, create a dignified experience for clients.

$500,000 for a New Home Base at the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds’ Long Island site

The Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds’ Long Island site is home to camps from six different JCCs and the Sunrise Association, which provides free camp for children with cancer and their siblings. JCF’s grant will help fund a new Home Base on the Jewish campgrounds to accommodate a broad range of programming. It will also feature handicap-accessible bathrooms and places for children to change into their swim clothes.

$100,000 to build a sensory gym at The Harold and Elaine Shames JCC on the Hudson

Nearly 15 percent of the children who attend the Harold and Elaine Shames JCC on the Hudson have special needs. To better serve them, the JCC is creating a 500-square-foot sensory gym. Occupational and physical therapists and social workers will provide individual and group sessions there throughout the day. The sensory gym will also feature a one-way mirror, enabling parents to observe their children receiving services or participating in play therapy.

$65,000 to support 26 Coffee Houses for Selfhelp Community Services

Many Holocaust survivors first turn to Selfhelp after the death of a spouse. Selfhelp’s celebrated “Coffee Houses” began in 1993, providing live entertainment and companionship for nearly 7,000 Holocaust survivors living in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx and Nassau County. For a few hours, these men and women have the opportunity to speak “mamaloshen,” sing, dance and enjoy a good time. The Selfhelp Coffee Houses give this very last generation of Holocaust survivors something special to look forward to each month.

$65,000 to provide scholarships for the JCC of Manhattan’s Camp Settoga for children from low-income families

JCF’s scholarships will enable children from low-income families to experience the joys of Jewish camp at the JCC of Manhattan’s beautiful new Camp Settoga campus.

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