Lovingkindness-driven initiatives established by JCF/JFSA joint grants

Jewish Family & Children’s Services Program Manager Elise Bajohr, left, demonstrates home-based assessment of an individual’s needs. (Courtesy Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona)

Sara’s options began to feel limited when, at the age of 72, she met with a series of major life obstacles. Beset with memory challenges, a recent cancer diagnosis, and an urgent need to move out of her apartment due to repairs, she didn’t know where she could turn.

That’s when Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona stepped in with their Trusted Advisors Project. TAP helped Sara apply for low-income housing, coordinate her medical care, and connect to the JCFS Chai Circle for cancer survivors. Although they could not change her life circumstances, they were able to ease some of her burden and help her navigate through this difficult period.

TAP was established in July 2018 thanks, in part, to a $30,000 grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona and the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. Since its inception, the project has provided services to 47 low-income Jewish individuals and families who have found themselves in crises or facing life challenges that seriously impacted their well-being, safety, and/or independence.

JFCS professionals provide individual assessment, care, and referrals at no cost to the most vulnerable members of the Jewish community, people who are often not visible because they are unable or embarrassed to ask for help. Services offered include budgeting, housing, coordinating medical care, reducing isolation, building coping skills and support mechanisms, navigating guardianship issues and power of attorney, and assistance making life-planning decisions.

The lovingkindness inherent in projects such as TAP embodies the spirit of the aligned JCF and JFSA competitive grants process. This annual grants process seeks to empower organizations and individuals in Southern Arizona and around the world to carry out initiatives that support, sustain, enhance, and encourage positive change in their communities.

In 2019, the aligned JCF and JFSA grants committee reviewed 44 proposals, ultimately choosing 28 and
distributing $355,197.

• $167,438 was allocated in the Tucson Jewish category to support seven grants for core human services and increased Jewish engagement.

• $10,000 was provided in the Tucson Synagogue category for two small capital projects.

• $99,000 in Partnership2Gether Israel awards were allocated to assist eight programs that focus on youth and young families.

• $38,000 in Israel-wide grants were awarded to four recipients to enhance and encourage an integrated Israeli society, specifically secular education of haredi youth and opportunities that go beyond dialogue to bring Israelis and Palestinians together.

• $40,759 in Tucson general funding went to support the data gathering and analysis of Cradle to Career, a nationwide initiative to improve education and workforce outcomes, and four programs that focus on at-risk youth.

For more information about projects the JCF/JFSA grants process has funded, visit www.jcftucson.org/impact.

Maya S. Horowitz is project manager at the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona.

Editor’s note: updated June 3 with additional Tucson general funding information.