Thanks to a grant from a San Francisco foundation, local families still reeling from the devastation left by Superstorm Sandy will have help financing their children’s Jewish educations.
The Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to The Jewish Federations of North America, with as much as $100,000 going to help storm victims in Monmouth County pay for Jewish education.
In a March 12 phone interview, foundation president and board chair Al Levitt told NJJN, “We will leave it up to JFNA as to how to divide up the money.”
Among the federations receiving the grant money for aid to families in need will be the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County. Also getting a share will be, in New Jersey, the Jewish federations of Greater MetroWest NJ, Greater Middlesex County, Atlantic & Cape May Counties, Northern New Jersey, and Ocean County and, in Connecticut, UJA Federation of Greenwich.
As part of the grant, families in Hoboken and Jersey City will also receive assistance.
The Monmouth federation will apply some of the unspecified grant monies to scholarships for first-time attendees at Jewish camps whose families were severely affected by the storm.
Those who qualify will be allotted between $500 and $750 for day camp and up to $1,000 for sleepaway camp.
“We found upward of 107 kids [in families needing assistance] and the total funding is upward of $100,000,” Keith Krivitzky, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County, told NJJN in a March 13 phone interview. “We were remarkably aggressive in trying to find people, so the grants for our community are deservedly high.”
“We want to be sure no one affected by Hurricane Sandy is deterred from having a meaningful Jewish camp experience,” Krivitzky said.
Noting that his area was hit at least as severely as any other by the storm, Krivitzky said, “We hustled to make sure we are able to support as many as needed it.”
Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of JFNA, applauded the grants as a way to relieve “families who have to make difficult decisions about rebuilding their lives. We don’t want families, because they were affected by this natural disaster, to have to make a tough choice between ensuring there is a roof over their heads or ensuring their kids’ Jewish education.”
In a March 11 phone interview, Silverman told NJ Jewish News, “I hope the money will go a long way and will make a real difference.”
Joseph was a Holocaust survivor from Vienna who moved to California and dedicated his life to philanthropy and Jewish education. He died in 2003. The foundation made another $1 million grant to UJA-Federation of New York to aid community members affected by Sandy.
The foundation’s awards augment some $7.4 million in aid that the JFNA has already allocated to help victims of Sandy with food, clothes, and housing. The foundation also made another $1 million grant to UJA-Federation of New York to aid community members affected by Sandy.
“I hope these funds will be of assistance,” said Levitt. “More importantly, I hope they will encourage other philanthropists to take a look at what is going on and try to help.”