Download a PDF of all of the Federation’s grants here.
If there’s one direction the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle has gone with its agency allocations, it’s more deep and less wide.
“One of the focuses we had this year…was to grant in a more deep, impactful way than we did last year,” said Nancy Greer, the Federation’s interim CEO. “We were very thoughtful in that process, so you’ll see a number of agencies got everything they asked for in some areas.”
This is the Federation’s second community campaign under its new grant-based model in which it raises funds and allocates grants based upon individual projects in specific areas of impact instead of blanket allocations to cover operating costs. The community campaign ends June 30 and the Federation believes it will hit its goal, with current pledges having reached 96.7 percent as of June 3.
“Our target is to meet or exceed what we realized last year at $4.8 million,” said David Chivo, the Federation’s executive vice president.
Ken Weinberg, outgoing CEO of Jewish Family Service, expressed relief about his agency’s grants being roughly equivalent to what his agency received last year.
“Staying the same is the new up,” Weinberg said. “You just can’t complain about that. That is really doing very, very well.”
The Federation fully funded grants for JFS’s food bank and emergency services program, the Project DVORA domestic violence program, and the Seattle Association for Jews with Disabilities.
“I’m particularly pleased with the SAJD allocation,” Weinberg said. “Last year that caused a lot of pain, and I think that it’s clear that the folks at Federation really understood the need to support SAJD.”
SAJD went unfunded last year.
One JFS program partially funded by the Federation is a family volunteer program. The grant will “identify more clearly and create more family volunteering activities,” said Jane Deer-Hileman, director of JFS’s volunteer services. That includes creating program materials such as an online calendar and family volunteering toolkit, expanding the types of programs offered across the lifecycle spectrum such as a recent seedling-planting program to grow produce for the food bank, and to help fund an AmeriCorps VISTA member.
Some grant requests that resonated with the planning committees this year involve intergenerational activities: The second-generation program from the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center brings together children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Holocaust survivors to meet and talk about their families’ experiences.
“This is a unique community and we’ve held one event, which was very successful, standing-room only,” said Dee Simon, executive director of the Holocaust Center. “There was a great deal of interest to continue the program, so we are working to create new activities that interest this unique group of people.”
A second Holocaust Center grant will help expand Yom HaShoah programming. The organization will receive $27,500, compared to $5,000 for 2013.
The Stroum Jewish Community Center received a grant for a similar request to launch an intergenerational program this fall.
“The goal is to integrate grandparents — not only of children in our school, but grandparents in general — into the early childhood [program] so that there’s learning going on and volunteering going on between generations,” said Judy Neuman, the JCC’s CEO.
A $60,000 grant for holiday programming is a 25 percent increase over last year’s. That grant expanded the JCC’s offerings, including an Israel at 65 event that Neuman said drew more than 500 people, and a Hanukkah event at Northgate Mall. She hopes to be able to do more such off-site programming in the coming year.
“To take some of these programs out and travel with them, as you scale them it costs considerably more money to pull them off,” Neuman said.
That’s why she’s unhappy that this grant, and the other four the JCC received for a total of $169,460, were only partially funded. Three requests did not receive any funding.
“This funding cycle marks the second consecutive year that funding has been significantly reduced,” Neuman said. “During those two years ‘J’ programs and services have grown significantly. We’re definitely meeting the needs of more community members.”
Having lost 50 percent of its funding dollars over that period, Neuman wondered if the Federation’s new funding process should take a more holistic approach.
“Looking at these program grants by their impact areas may be somewhat in isolation. It seems that it’s made it very difficult for people to walk away and understand how each individual grant connects and fits into the total JCC story,” she said.
But the Federation’s Greer said that is the part of the process.
“From our perspective, it’s really what we’re doing for the community as a whole, how we address specific needs,” she said.
Greer added that while the Federation values all of the agencies it supports and their programs, other grants in the same areas were judged to have a more significant impact on the community overall.
Of 133 grant requests to the Federation, 48 were funded at least in part, as were three special-purpose funds: For research, contingencies, and for emergency capital needs. JTNews, which received $22,700 last year for community-wide paper distribution, did not get funded. The Federation has provided financial assistance to its operations, however. Some organizations not on this year’s list, including Chabad at the University of Washington and Congregation Beth Hatikvah in Bremerton, received funding from separate Small Agency Sustainability grants or Small & Simple grants for $5,000 or less.
Between the funding for Jewish Family Service’s SAJD and the Friendship Circle, which runs several programs for special-needs children and their families, the planning and allocations committee saw a specific necessity to help people with disabilities.
Friendship Circle received grants totaling $64,000 to expand three projects: A summer camp, the monthly Sunday Circle, and its flagship Friends@Home program, in which teen volunteers hang out with special-needs kids in their homes.
“This is a very powerful program because a lot of times with these kids, this is their only social interaction. A lot of times these kids cannot easily go out into public,” said Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky, the Friendship Circle’s executive director, of Friends@Home. “At the same time it provides tremendous respite and comfort to the families.”
That “the Federation is allowing an organization such as [ours] to really take it to another level is very, very powerful, and that’s something that the community at large can be proud of,” Bogomilsky added.
The Federation’s Chivo agreed.
“The importance of serving families who have children who have special needs in our Jewish community cannot be overstated,” he said. “It is an area in which our total community should be investing more… As you set the table for the whole Jewish community to sit around, if there is not a place for the family who has a child, who has children with special needs, then we’re not really a total community.”
The Federation also saw a need for programming in Seattle’s Northend. The Seattle Jewish Community School received $50,000 in grants that focused heavily on early-childhood development as well as for the emerging Jewish Junction, which seeks to provide a bevy of resources and services for families north of the Ship Canal.