The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh announced last month the recipients of $22 million in allocations and grants. The money is expected to “support programs in Pittsburgh and in Jewish communities around the world,” according to a June 28 press release from the Federation.
The funds were raised by solicitors during this year’s annual campaign, with portions also coming from several government grants and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, which provided $900,000 toward human services.
Funding Chair Scott Tobe said the disbursements and earmarks were reflective of the needs of Jewish Pittsburgh and the Federation’s goals. The funds will benefit numerous local organizations, including Repair the World, Classrooms Without Borders and the National Council of Jewish Women’s Center for Women, as well as an expansion of the Diller Teen Fellows program, which sends local teens to Israel to participate in activities that foster Jewish spirit and pride. Some of the grants will also fund a demographic study of Pittsburgh Jewry, the first to be conducted in the area since 2002.
The Federation’s “planning and funding committee is responsible for understanding the community’s priorities and making sure that
our dollars are allocated appropriately,” said Tobe. Funding decisions, which are approved by the full board, come after a year of consulting with committee members with “diverse expertise, backgrounds and affiliations.”
Cynthia Shapira, chair of the Federation’s board of directors, said that the funding “allows big-picture planning to use resources wisely and helps ensure that no segment of the community is left out.”
Federation president and CEO Jeffrey Finkelstein agreed.
“This information is crucial to identifying the community’s strengths and needs, and it’s crucial to planning to reach our potential,” he said of the allocations process.
“This money is vital to the functioning of the Jewish community in Pittsburgh,” echoed Tobe. “From the JCC to Jewish Family & Children’s Service, from helping the aging to supporting programs that instill Jewish values, our money supports many facets of the community and helps to ensure Jewish continuity.”
Nine local organizations designated as beneficiary agencies will receive Federation allocations this year: Hillel Jewish University Center, Community Day School, Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, Jewish Association on Aging, Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Jewish Residential Services, Riverview Towers and Yeshiva Schools. These organizations typically “receive the bulk of the dollars that are distributed through core allocations,” according to Tobe. “This is because we have very competent and experienced agencies that have the ability and know-how to be able to positively affect the area that they each cover.”
Tobe explained that the Federation has a responsibility “to take a global 30,000-foot view of the community, help to set priorities and then to distribute the money to the experts who know the best way to use the money most effectively.”
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Israel will also receive funds.
“The Federation’s goal is create and sustain a vibrant and thriving Jewish community,” said Tobe. “The money that we allocate is meant to support this vision.”
Masha Shollar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.