JHF grants focus on education, services to underserved

JHF grants focus on education, services to underserved

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation has announced its approval of eight grants totaling more than $1.4 million to both the Jewish and general communities.

The grants include the JHF’s annual $900,000 block grant to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to be allocated among the Federation’s beneficiary agencies. The annual grant, which the JHF has provided since its inception, represents 60 percent of the $1.5 million in annual operating funds the Federation will distribute for 2012-2013 to agencies and programs to support human service needs in Pittsburgh.

“It’s a great partnership,” said JHF President and CEO Karen Wolk Feinstein. “The Federation allocates that money. We have a seat at the table, but it’s their process.”

The annual $900,000 grant to the Federation is only part of the approximately $3 million that the JHF allocates to the Jewish community each year, Feinstein noted.

“We give the Jewish Association on Aging close to $1 million each year,” she said, “and we give a lot of one-time grants each year for certain specific projects and specific needs to Jewish agencies directly. We also pay off all the debt of the Jewish Association on Aging each year.”

The eight JHF grants cover several priority areas, including: health care workforce development, safety and quality, medical and health professions education and services to the underserved. Several of the grantees will be funded for multiple years.

Among the eight grantees are two new partners: the Association of American Medical Colleges and the National Association of Workforce Boards.

The JHF will be giving the AAMC $40,000 to develop ways to implement new competency methods in medical education so that the next generations of physicians can become competent in health care quality and safety.

The NAWB will receive $50,000 to develop a national health care workforce summit to identify emerging health care workforce needs. New jobs and new roles are certain to result from the Affordable Care Act, according to Feinstein.

“We have a very close relationship with our local Three Rivers Workforce Investment board, which is the local affiliate,” Feinstein said. “This is the national association. We will work with them to develop a model that can be taken to local communities.”

“Obamacare will be bringing big policy changes,” she said. “The question is how will these changes affect the workforce?”

While the JHF previously has given small grants to the East End Cooperative Ministry, it is now committed to giving $100,000 over three years to the EECM’s Endowment Fund for its new Community House. The 56,000 square feet facility, which began construction last year, will house a homeless shelter, respite care center, commercial kitchen, dining room, food pantry, a nondenominational chapel, classrooms, computer rooms, counseling space and various meeting and administrative rooms.

The JHF’s grant to the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health has also increased. The school will receive $100,000 over five years to upgrade classrooms to accommodate technology and facilitate team learning experiences. The JHF sees this project as vital to the region’s ability to recruit and retain the best faculty and students, and to maintain its position as a global leader in public health research, education and practice.

The other three JHF grants are: $45,000 over three years in continued support of the Human Services Integration Fund, created within the Pittsburgh Foundation as a flexible spending pool to support projects that foster sustainable improvements within the Allegheny County Department of Human Services; $65,000 to the United Way of Allegheny County’s Impact Fund, which provides grants to local nonprofits that are helping populations with great human service needs; and $45,000 per year for three years to extend the JHF’s internship program, which trains the next generation of health care professionals in health care quality improvement.

(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at tobyt@thejewishchronicle.net.)

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