The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh last week awarded some $100,000 in COVID-19 emergency relief funds to Jewish nonprofits and local organizations, bringing its pandemic assistance total to more than $1.1 million.
Most of the impact will be felt close to home, though about $25,000 of the $107,598 designated most recently will serve home-bound seniors in Israel and the former Soviet Union, according to Adam Hertzman, the Federation’s director of marketing. Locally, though, the funds packed a punch; the $1,109,114 in total grants awarded has helped deliver meals to home-bound seniors throughout Greater Pittsburgh, fund school lunch programs at Yeshiva Schools, pay for health screeners at Jewish facilities and much more.
The JCC of Greater Pittsburgh received $186,385 in pandemic-related assistance from the Federation. Those funds have helped with everything from home-delivered meals and equipment needs to paying health screeners at the Squirrel Hill facility, JCC President and CEO Brian Schreiber said.
“We’re at a point of incredible resource compression,” Schreiber told the Chronicle. “That fund is helping us serve the community in a real way.”
The Federation awarded $197,900 to Jewish Family and Community Services, Hertzman said. Through support from the Federation and the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, JFCS purchased a van to safely deliver food to individuals and families who are home-bound due to COVID-19.
“We are grateful for the support that the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has provided to the entire community, strengthening our ability to effectively respond to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Jordan Golin, president and CEO of JFCS.
The Jewish Agency on Aging received $136,7000 in pandemic grants from the Federation, which includes four allocations ranging from $15,000 to $67,000.
The grants support increased demand for Mollie’s Meals home delivery service, disposable paper products for resident meals, additional sanitizing equipment and staff scrubs for on-campus use, said Tinsy Labrie, the JAA’s director of marketing and public relations. Those funds also paid for personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks, face shields, disposable gowns and gloves.
“As always, but particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, JAA’s number one priority is the health and safety of our residents and staff,” JAA President and CEO Deborah Winn-Horvitz said. “Medical supplies and personal protection equipment are critical, especially as we compete for them with healthcare organizations around the world; supplies are short and, as a result, prices are on the rise. We are incredibly grateful for the support of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh for its quick, timely, and flexible response with much-needed funding to address our varying levels of need. These funds help JAA protect the most vulnerable among us – seniors and those who care for them.”
Numbers don’t quite tell the whole picture. Hertzman said the COVID-19 emergency relief funds reported to Chronicle did not include additional PPE provided to a wide variety of Jewish agencies and congregations, as well as previous grants allocated for 2020-21 that the Federation released for pandemic relief.
On June 15, the Federation closed its annual Community Campaign, having amassed some $13.6 million in commitments to be distributed next year, Hertzman said. The goal for the campaign was $14 million, and the campaign did raise enough for donors’ $60,000 and $100,000 matches.
Community Campaign funds help feed hungry Pittsburghers, assist the unemployed, support those with special needs, fund Jewish education and help the Federation respond to emergencies such as COVID-19. PJC
Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.