Home Federation Federation announces 14 programming grants

Federation announces 14 programming grants

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By Sara Rosenbaum
Chief Impact Officer, JCFR

The Federation continues to strive toward offering programmatic grants to our local agencies and Synagogues that provide community-based programs to support and build Jewish Community in new and exciting ways.

This year we are pleased to fund the following programmatic grants totaling nearly $240,000; 6 of which are new for the 2021-22 year.

 Richmond Beth-El Cemetery /Kavod v’Nichum- Chevrah Kadisha Program – $8,000

A new program from national partner, Kavod v’Nichum, will work with a local cemetery and Synagogue.  Chevra Kadisot, which literally means Holy Society, is a group of Jewish people who care for the deceased to prepare them for burial.

This program would provide a framework for education about Jewish end-of-life practices rooted in Jewish tradition and can help diverse community members find answers and options that may otherwise be difficult to access and speak about.

Congregation Brith Achim – Children’s Service Initiative – $1,500

A first-time request and new program from Congregation Brith Achim, Petersburg’s congregation. This program plans to hold hybrid (Zoom/in-person) Saturday services for children, ages 5-10 years old, featuring dynamic activities, Hebrew learning, Torah study, as well as basic prayers – all presented in a manner to inspire and excite pre-Bar Mitzvah-study, school-aged children. The program is one of Brith Achim’s steps in a long-term plan to foster Jewish youth participation.

 Friendship Circle – Day at the Diamond – $5,000

Partnering with the Richmond Flying Squirrels to host a game to highlight Disabilities and Mental Health. This grant would allow Friendship Circle to distribute 10,000 tickets to Disability and Mental Health-related organizations and families in the Greater Richmond Area.

Friendship Circle – Friends at Home – $5,000

Before COVID, Friendship Circle’s Friends@Home brought children with disabilities together with teens without disabilities for weekly social visits in the comfort of the child’s home.

Two teen friends are paired with one friend with a disability for an engaging group dynamic. Since the pandemic, all in-home visits have been moved to a virtual platform and Friends@Home matches still meet to talk, laugh, or play games for 1 hour every week.

In the Friends With Pens program, a teen friend is assigned to a friend with a disability and sends them 2 handwritten letters per month. While the child with a disability is welcome to respond to their Pen Pal if they like, it is not a requirement so as not to add stress during these times for parents or families.

For our friends with disabilities, they experience the joy and excitement of opening real, old fashioned snail mail addressed just to them.

JCFR- Community Grant Writer – $12,000

A new initiative spearheaded by the Federation. This funding will allow the community to take part in a variety of grant-writing tutorials and professional development, give partner agencies and Synagogues access to grant research dashboards and professional help from a seasoned grant professional.

Jewish Life at VCU- Student Engagement Program — $25,000 

The Jewish student enrollment at VCU consists of approximately 1,200 students. This program, which the Federation has helped to fund for many years, is modeled after the Hillel Springboard Fellowship program. Student Engagement team members assist and engage with the Jewish students and help connect them to the growing community through a variety of activities.

JFS – Jewish Care Line – $50,000

We are pleased to be able to continue to support this vital program in our community. Since the Fall of 2018, 123 Jewish families and individuals have received confidential, compassionate, and understanding help from the Jewish Care Line to recover from crisis. The Care Line does not just pay clients’ bills; in fact, only about 65% of Care Line clients have had short term cash assistance since its founding. The Care Line works with each client to offer personalized services to help them recover from the crisis and return to life stability. Each client meets with a JFS Social Worker and receives needed support including career or resume coaching, financial counseling, navigation of public benefits, or other resources to help them get back on their feet. Without the Care Line already in place the circumstances of COVID-19 may have been even more difficult for our community, with the Care Line already in place more in need were able to receive help faster.

JFS/Beth Sholom Senior Living – Hospice $10,000

Currently, there is no organization in the Greater Richmond area that offers hospice services grounded in Jewish tradition and values. The partnership to offer in-home hospice services is a commitment to provide the Jewish community quality, compassionate care in life and to surround individuals and their families with peace and loving care as they complete their life’s journey. BSSL and JFS are ready to enter the next phase of the Hospice launch plan, and the Federation’s allocations committee is proud to be an early funder.

KBI – J-LEAP – $15,000

A new program from a local congregation, Keneseth Beth Israel, in partnership with Richmond’s PJ Library program — J-LEAP: Jewish Learning Enrichment & Play.  This program for pre-school and elementary age children will connect and teach about the Jewish Holidays using STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, and Math). Through J-LEAP events, children in the Richmond community will gain an understanding of the Jewish holiday cycle and connect with their culture and heritage. Aims to engage children of all backgrounds.

Or Atid – Gan Chesed  – $10,000

Gan Chesed is a universally accessible, sensory-based outdoor play area and Jewish-themed garden focusing on natural elements to safely engage all of the senses. Inspired by Jewish practices and teachings, Gan Chesed offers new learning opportunities and programs for all ages and abilities in the spirit of inclusion. We are excited to be part of the funding to see the programs happening at the garden with a variety of community partners.

RTA – Scholarships – $30,000

RTA is committed to ensuring that no Jewish child should be denied a Jewish Education due to the inability to pay full tuition. The underlying premise is that Jewish education should not be considered just a commodity. The scholarship funds will help RTA be more successful in attracting families to our community’s only Jewish day school, and lead to our having greater financial resources to appropriately service those students successfully in both Jewish and General Studies. Nationwide requests for scholarships to schools, camp and other programs has seen a 30% increase in need since the COVID-19 crisis began.

 RTA – IDEAL – $18,000

RTA’s I.D.E.A.L. stands for Inclusive, Dual-Education for Accessible Lessons. This program strengthens and enriches the lives of our Jewish youth and maximizes inclusion in our institution and community. It offers the necessary assistance to students for whom modifications offered in their regular classroom are not quite enough, and aims to stimulate the gifted and talented students with enrichment experiences beyond the opportunities offered in their daily classes.

IDEAL is a program that helps achieve the goal of any quality education: To tailor the instruction to best fit each individual student. At RTA, every teacher strives for this goal within the classroom – and at the same time, there are students who need something more. Examples include: a) Children with learning challenges and disabilities – who in the ‘old world’ would have simply been placed in a separate, non-inclusive class or school; b) Students who are years behind in specific skills due to having switched to RTA’s dual program in the later years of their education; c) ‘Gifted and talented’ students whose academic prowess enables them to grasp concepts far beyond their grade level.

Weinstein JCC – Scholarships — $35,000

The Weinstein JCC believes in the strength of community and seeks to cultivate a sense of belonging in all we do. All members of the community should have an opportunity to utilize all that the Center has to offer. The Weinstein JCC lives out the commitment to the traditional Jewish values of Tzedakah {charity) and Tikkun Olam (acts of kindness) through this Financial Assistance Program, providing scholarships to support individuals, families and children in need to be a part of our strong and vibrant community. The goal is to meet the ever-growing needs of people turning to the Center for financial assistance and it is their intention that no one be denied program access because of an inability to pay full fees. All funds from the Federation are used to support Jewish families; currently 45% of the 153 families receiving scholarship assistance identify as Jewish.

Weinstein JCC – EnRich  — $15,000

EnRich for Life (EnRich) presented by the Weinstein JCC and Jewish Family Services (JFS), focuses on improving the quality of life for Jewish older adults and non-Jewish seniors (aged 65+) from the greater Richmond community by reducing their social isolation. By offering opportunities for older adults to connect, engage and learn in a safe place, the program allows them to meet new people, experience new things and explore places. The free program provides monthly programming that meets the social, mental and physical needs of older adults. It offers a unique opportunity for older adults of all cultural/ethnic backgrounds and faiths to convene in a central location where Jewish life, values and culture are shared and friendships are made.

For more information, contact Sara Rosenbaum at srosenbaum@jewishrichmond.org.

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