The state of New Jersey has designated the Jewish Renaissance Foundation of Perth Amboy as one of two “community action agencies” for Middlesex County — giving the nonprofit organization automatic access to federal funding every year and providing hundreds of thousands of dollars to expand and add programs. The other agency is the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc., of New Brunswick.
According to JRF president and founder Dr. Alan Goldsmith, as newly designated community action agencies, the nonprofits also received a one-shot infusion of revenue from the federal stimulus package. The JRF received $884,821 in stimulus funding and $536,701 from the state as a 2009 fiscal year Community Service Action Agency grant. He told NJ Jewish News the JRF is projected to receive nearly $467,000 in 2010 in CSAA grant money.
The JRF was founded in 1996 and serves more than 34,000 children and families of all backgrounds. It serves as the parent agency of the Jewish Renaissance Medical Center, which provides medical services to the poor and uninsured, and the Boys and Girls Club in Perth Amboy.
Goldsmith — who was named a United Nations goodwill ambassador in 2007 in recognition of his work in improving health-care access for the poor — said the funds will be used, among other purposes, to create an “academy for workforce empowerment,” to offer mobile health-care services for children, to work with Perth Amboy to rehabilitate a dozen foreclosed and abandoned homes, and to provide child-care services for impoverished families through schools or faith-based programs.
Goldsmith, who will be honored by Hadassah’s Southern New Jersey Region this month with its Myrtle Wreath Award, said he also plans to open a holiday community food bank and provide holiday baskets for county residents of various faiths.
The state designated the JRF to serve as the community action agency for “Middlesex County East,” which includes Carteret, Edison, Metuchen, Perth Amboy, Sayreville, South Amboy, Woodbridge, and Highland Park.
Every other county in New Jersey had at least one “Community Action Agency”; Middlesex, which had been without one since July 2007.
“These two organizations are now joining an esteemed group of agencies united behind the philosophy of eliminating the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty,” Charles A. Richman, acting commissioner of the NJ Department of Community Affairs, said in a statement.