Local agency programs spread JFSA funds

A view from the lobby of the Harvey and Deanna Evenchik Center for Jewish Philanthropy, home of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona (Martha Lochert)

Editor’s Note: This is the last in a series of four articles on how the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona allocates funds. The first, in the Oct. 12 issue, focused on youth and family education programs at synagogues. The second, in the Nov. 23 issue, looked at national and overseas allocations. The third, in the Dec. 7 issue, covered funding for JFSA’s departments and programs.

Our Jewish community is blessed to have six Federation partner agencies that deliver a broad range of vital services,” says Stuart Mellan, Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona CEO and president. “The Federation is very proud to be a central source of support, in which community donors participate.”

Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging, Jewish Family & Children’s Services, Tucson Jewish Community Center and University of Arizona Hillel Foundation have been partners with Federation for decades. Tucson Hebrew Academy joined the family in the early 1990s. The Jewish History Museum is the most recent to become a partner, five years ago (see listing on page 20).

“Federation’s role is to be a source of strength and support for these partners,” Mellan says. “Our Planning and Allocation process provides an additional level of accountability for agency and Federation donors.” In making annual allocation decisions, Federation lay leaders work with each agency to understand its annual goals, how their services impact the community and how they align with the Federation’s mission. Another criterion for determining allocations is assessing the agencies’ collaboration with Federation and other Jewish community partners.

“Local organizations serve a wide population in the areas where our donors’ hearts lie,” says Julie Feldman, the Agencies PAC co-chair with Bruce Beyer. “It’s been rewarding getting to know the various agencies’ operations in depth,” adds Beyer. “We share with them common goals and work together toward the best result. The process benefits the entire community.”

“A value of the PAC process is that it is collaborative, working together to enhance what agencies are doing for the community. Collaborating, we can be more effective in putting donor funds to better use,” Feldman says.

“It’s not just distribution of funds, but working together to accomplish goals for both the agencies and the community,” Beyer says. “It’s the partnership that’s most valuable — relationship building and engagement.”

The Federation’s affiliated corporation, the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, which gives leadership to a grant process that is aligned with the Federation, augments Federation funding for agencies through grants, donor legacies and managing agency endowment funds.

Federation annual campaign funding supports six community agencies


The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona supports these local beneficiary agencies:

Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging

Guided by Jewish values and traditions, Handmaker provides a continuum of care and services enhancing the physical, spiritual, emotional, social and intellectual quality of life for the aging, without regard to race, color or creed.

Since 1963, Handmaker has greeted thousands of people, treating everyone as a part of the family. Showing respect, dignity, and caring is each staff member’s goal. Handmaker services include assisted living, post-hospital rehabilitation, memory and dementia care, residential nursing care, adult care, and outreach programs.

Jewish Family & Children’s Services

JFCS was founded in 1941 and is a non-sectarian, non-profit social service agency. It offers a continuum of social and behavioral health programs that address the well-being of children, adults, families, and people with special needs. It also provides support to aging and vulnerable adults who live with a chronic illness or disability.

The agency provides counseling for all ages, trauma services, guardianship, cancer support, durable home medical equipment, care management, emergency financial assistance, domestic violence services, Jewish elder access, and supports Holocaust survivors. Services are available to all Southern Arizonans, regardless of beliefs. Funding also comes from private and corporate support, grants, special events and individuals who support the mission.

Jewish History Museum/Holocaust History Center

The museum collects, preserves, and teaches the history of the Jewish experience in the American Southwest.  It preserves the first synagogue in the Arizona Territory, which now houses the museum.

The Holocaust History Center at the museum is an educational institute dedicated to ongoing examination of the Holocaust. History is viewed through the experiences over 260 individuals from 18 nations who were persecuted by Nazism, survived, and later arrived in Southern Arizona. These people, who contributed to the community in numerous ways, are highlighted in the center’s examination of this complex history. The center also illuminates contemporary human rights abuses.

Tucson Hebrew Academy

THA is Tucson’s only Jewish community day school for students in grades K-8.  Students benefit from teachers who nurture intellectual curiosity and inspire social responsibility. Personal attention, small class sizes, and integrated learning help each child achieve academic success, gain self-confidence, and develop pride in Jewish and American identity. In addition to a rigorous general and Hebrew/Judaic studies program, enriching specialty classes help all students to find their passion and reach their highest potential.

Tucson Jewish Community Center

The Tucson J is a 110,000-square-foot center built in 1989 and renovated in 2015. With more than 2,000 families and 5,000 members, the J is open to the Tucson community for all people, all faiths, all identities, all abilities and all walks of life. Serving every age group from the six-week-old infant through the adult years, the J offers a wide range of social, cultural, educational, recreational and athletic programs and activities. The location has settings for meetings, weddings, and special events.

The J has a privately funded, play-based preschool serving more than 300 children ages six weeks to pre-K, and after-school care for elementary-aged children.

University of Arizona Hillel

Hillel is the foundation of the campus Jewish community — a diverse, umbrella organization that serves an eclectic Jewish community. Hillel’s mission is to provide students at the UA and in the Tucson metropolitan area with an atmosphere that fosters enhancement of Jewish life. Hillel develops student leadership and initiative by allowing students to engage in pro-active, democratic Jewish life through various projects, including lectures, discussions, social and cultural events, as well as other services and programs.