“The Imprint and Impact of Collaboration” was the theme at Jewish Family & Children’s Service’s annual meeting, held this past Monday evening at Rodef Shalom Congregation. Following a dessert reception, attendees filled Levy Hall as they listened to the evening’s speakers.
Attendees received a brochure listing JF&CS partners and collaborators from A to Z, from the AARP Foundation Work Search to Zion Christian Church and several hundred in between. Collaborators include many other area Jewish and non-Jewish organizations and agencies, foundations, local government, universities, nonprofits, churches and synagogues and local businesses.
After a welcome by meeting chair Eric Perelman and a D’var Torah by Rabbi Michael Werbow of Congregation Beth Shalom, JF&CS president and CEO, Aryeh Sherman, gave his annual report.
“It shows how strong we can be if we work together for a common goal,” said Sherman, as he played a video showing just a small portion of the 8,000 people that the organization served last year alone. The video represented the various arms of their outreach services, including those for refugees, adoption, guardianship, scholarship and immigration.
Sherman said that there are hundreds of young children looking for homes, thousands of foster kids who have aged out of the system, four thousand folks in Squirrel Hill alone living below the poverty level, and more than 40,000 unemployed in the county.
“It’s our responsbility to continue the effort. We’ll never finish the job; that’s for future generations,” he said.
Sherman, who last month received the Diamond Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times, acknowledged many of the numerous organizations who work with JF&CS, saying that has allowed them to serve more people than they ever could on their own. For example, their immigration and legal services department collaborates with Pittsburgh attorneys and 60 other organizations to help folks from 95 different countries settle in our area.
Joel Rosenthal, the outgoing chairman of the board, showed a chart of the five-year strategic plan he envisioned for the organization between 2008-2012 as well as the imprint and impact of each goal.
For example, safety, independence and health of the elderly served more than 7,000, while outreach to the Jewish community impacted more than 5,300.
He described the revamping of the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry, which included a name change in 2010 and a move to a new location. He said the pantry looks and feels like a “normal” grocery store, offering a more dignified shopping experience for those in need.
(Hilary Daninhirsch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)