The struggles of the newly poor come in all shapes and sizes: Jewish families turning to Jewish social service agencies for help paying electricity and mortgage bills. Isolated Jewish seniors on fixed incomes who, for the first time in their lives, are facing food insecurity and mental health issues exacerbated by social isolation.
In response to this, Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City has spent the last 100 days seeking new and increased investments into its annual campaign, in order to earn national matching dollars to provide extra funding for local programs serving exactly these purposes: help paying utility bills, food security and mental health support.
Thanks to a $54 million Human Services Relief Fund coordinated by Jewish Federations of North America, any increased, new or dedicated money raised by Jewish federations from September through year end, up to $36 million total, is being supplemented by another 50% in funding contributed by seven Jewish philanthropic foundations: the Maimonides Fund, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, the Mandel Foundation, the Singer Family Foundation, Leslie and Abigail Wexner, and the Wilf Family Foundation.
“As the pandemic dragged on, our board grew increasingly concerned about the impact on the most vulnerable members of the Jewish community,” said Mark Charendoff, Maimonides Fund’s president. “We wanted to create an opportunity that would help local communities meet those needs.”
When the chance to leverage local generosity into national matching dollars came up, Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City immediately took action, sharing the message in one-to-one conversations with donors and creating marketing campaigns like its November Giving Week effort.
Now, at year end, Federation has raised some $222,000 in new and additional funds, translating to a national match of $111,000—all new money coming from outside Kansas City to give extra funding to local programs like the Chesed Fund, KC Kosher Meals on Wheels and to purchase personal protective equipment for Village Shalom.