The Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago has allocated nearly $175.6 million so Iris D. will have a place to go for dinner on Monday nights.
And so she will be able to make her own dinner in her apartment on other nights. And have people to talk to. And can get to her doctors' appointments.
Every year, through its allocations, JUF/Federation and its affiliated agencies help Iris and over 500,000 other Chicagoans of every faith when they most need help, or are searching to connect with Jewish life and community. And around the globe, they do the same for some 2 million Jews in Israel and 70 other countries.
"Our work through JUF/Federation shows the world what it means to be Jewish by caring for the most vulnerable people in our society," said Michael H. Zaransky, JUF/Federation Chairman. "We're helping ensure that Jews have their basic needs met anywhere in the world-and we're building a strong, vibrant community for the next generation."
The $175.6 million allocation for FY 2018, crafted by lay and professional community leaders working in partnership throughout the year, is more than $6.6 million over FY 2017. The largest funding source is the JUF Annual Campaign, which last year raised $84.3 million. In addition, JUF/Federation distributes funds received from government agencies, foundations, endowments, donor advised funds, the United Way, and other sources.
Members of the Health and Human Services, Israel and Overseas, and Community Building and Jewish Continuity Commissions of the JUF/Federation Overall Planning and Allocations Committee (OPAC) identify needs, assess impact, and recommend allocations for the future.
"I want to thank the wonderful lay and professional leaders who worked tirelessly to achieve a timely and balanced budget," said Andy Hochberg, OPAC Chairman and a past JUF General Campaign Chair. "This experience gave me a full appreciation for the scope of JUF/Federation's work that supports, enhances and strengthens our Jewish community, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have served in this capacity."
For 117 years, the JUF/Federation has led efforts to help Jews and others in need, create Jewish experiences, and strengthen Jewish community connections both locally and globally.
Focusing on human needs
Over $25.4 million will be directed to human services delivered through Jewish Child & Family Services (JCFS), CJE SeniorLife, HIAS Chicago, Jewish Vocational Services, Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center, the Dina & Eli Field EZRA Multi-Service Center, and The ARK, which are among JUF/Federation's network of approximately 70 agencies and programs.
"Our leaders have thoughtfully provided their expertise as stewards of these resources. We are grateful for their efforts," said Deborah Schrayer Karmin, co-chair of JUF/Federation's Health & Human Services Commission. "Over the past 18 months our leadership and professionals throughout the system have come together to build the framework for measuring the impact of human and community building services on older adults. This initiative is vital to effectively providing service."
JUF/Federation funding provides emergency financial and medical assistance, supports advocacy and protection programs, promotes inclusiveness for people with disabilities, and makes available numerous other services addressing basic human needs.
"Community-based services were the focus of our work, given the funding challenges in the public sector," said Hilary Greenberg, Health & Human Services Commission co-chair. "A major concern is that as funding shrinks, services are becoming increasingly limited."
Assisting Holocaust survivors
Over $3 million-reflecting a $1.4 million increase over last year due to grant funding as well as funds from JUF's special Defiant Requiem program in the Spring-has been designated for Holocaust Community Services. HCS helps ensure that Chicago's aging Holocaust survivor community can live independently and with dignity, and addresses the exponentially increasing needs of aging survivors.
Supporting Israel and overseas programs
Nearly $36.6 million will be distributed to assist vulnerable populations in Israel, Ukraine, and elsewhere overseas, providing significant support for Jews in crisis through JUF/Federation partner agencies and programs that include Jewish Federations of North America, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Jewish Agency for Israel, and World ORT.
This funding strengthens overseas initiatives and programs such as Partnership Together, which assists the most vulnerable residents in Israel's Kiryat Gat-Lachish-Shafir region. JUF Israel Children's Zone-located in the Partnership region-is the flagship educational intervention program developed by Israeli education experts in cooperation with JUF's team in Israel, and is available in part in all 17 schools in the region.
Overseas funding also enhances educational programs operated by the Progressive (Reform), Masorti (Conservative), and Modern Orthodox streams of Judaism in Israel. In addition, JUF supports programs in the Former Soviet Union such as the Kyiv Kehilla Project that addresses hunger and supports formal and informal Jewish education programs.
"We continue to provide relief for Jews in need around the world," said Dana Hirt, Israel & Overseas Commission chair. "In addition, JUF/Federation is investing in the future of our global Jewish community."
Creating a vibrant community
JUF/Federation ensures a dynamic Jewish community by engaging Jews of all ages through a broad array of programs, initiatives, and service opportunities. Nearly $18.5 million has been allocated to agencies, organizations, and programs that create Jewish experiences and strengthen community connections, thereby promoting Jewish continuity from generation to generation.
Jewish Community Center of Chicago, Associated Talmud Torahs, area Jewish early childhood education programs, 19 Jewish day schools and high schools, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, and Hebrew Theological College are among the primary agencies and beneficiaries that rely on JUF/Federation for significant funding.
"Educational excellence and engagement is integral to Jewish identity," said Gita Berk, Community Building & Jewish Continuity Commission co-chair. "JUF is committed to creating learning opportunities for every age, at every stage of life."
In the area of adult Jewish learning, JUF/Federation has tapped the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership to develop opportunities for collaboration among adult Jewish professionals, through a Federation grant.
"We are excited about the opportunities this grant affords and look forward to the implementation of community-wide educational efforts," said Lisa Rosenkranz, Community Building & Jewish Continuity Commission co-chair.
JUF/Federation's allocations reflect the commitment to engage the next generation in Jewish life: JUF Young Families, including jBaby, JUF Right Start, and PJ Library, bring Jewish families together to participate in Jewish life; Hillels of Illinois invites college students on 17 campuses to explore and celebrate their Jewish identities; and young adults have ample social and networking opportunities to build leadership skills and connect with their peers.
Teens and young adults gain knowledge and understanding of the Jewish Homeland through immersive Israel experiences such as Ta'am Yisrael: A Taste of Israel for eighth grade students; Write On For Israel (eleventh grade students); JUF Birthright Israel: Kefiada; OTZMA: Israel Teacher Corps; and Masa Israel Journey. JUF/Federation sponsors missions to Israel throughout the year that provide an opportunity to see the Chicago Jewish community's impact on the lives of Israelis living in the Kiryat Gat-Lachish-Shafir Partnership Region.
In addition, JUF/Federation's TOV Tikkun Olam Volunteer Network last year connected over 5,500 community volunteers of all ages-who donated over 13,000 hours of time-with partner agencies and programs, many focused on vulnerable populations.
Other vital funding recipients are JUF/Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council, which brings together over 40 area Jewish organizations to advocate for the Jewish community with civic and community organizations, government officials, and the media-and Government Affairs Committee, which advocates on behalf of vulnerable populations in Chicago through legislative initiatives and public-private partnerships.
To promote Jewish identity through Israel outreach, advocacy, and cultural connections at the local and national levels, JUF/Federation is allocating $6.1 million. Advocacy initiatives include the Israel Education Center, which combats the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and other anti-Semitic, anti-Israel agendas that seek to delegitimize Israel's right to exist. Funding also maintains Israel study programs on college campuses, supports JUF Birthright Israel trips, provides academic scholarships and fellowships, and supports agencies such as the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
Other JUF/Federation FY 2018 allocations reflect distributions from donor-advised funds, community programs and services provided directly by JUF/Federation, support services to affiliated agencies, and operational expenses.
"Our Chicago Jewish community consistently demonstrates generosity, strength, and responsibility for each other-a reflection of our most deeply held values," said JUF/Federation President Dr. Steven B. Nasatir. "Year after year, we come together to care for and protect those in need locally, in Israel, and around the world-and for this, I am incredibly proud."