We are sure you will all agree that 2020 has been a year like no other in recent history. The effects of a global pandemic, combined with intense civil unrest rising from the painful acknowledgement of historic racial inequities, and an incredibly polarizing US presidential election season, have all contributed to a state of uncertainty and challenge for the Jewish human service sector. Throughout the year, the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies has made every effort to be a source of reliable, timely and effective information so that member agencies are better equipped to support their communities.
From the onset of the pandemic, the Network has developed and administered extensive programming for agency professionals and lay leadership to guide them through the crisis. In addition, the Network drove a series of initiatives to meet pressing needs as the impact of the pandemic continued to unfold, including:
- Established a collaboration which ultimately led to the sourcing and group purchasing of essential PPE, totaling over $2.5m, and supporting over 120 Network member agencies.
- Offered over 200 webinars in the first 100 days to assist over 4,000 professionals and lay leaders struggling to effectively and efficiently support their communities.
- Successfully advocated alongside the team at Jewish Federations of North America to ensure priority coverage for tele-mental health services and advocating for stimulus payments, extended unemployment benefits and home delivery for SNAP beneficiaries.
- Engaged with other national Jewish organizations in an ongoing planning process to develop and administer a range of service responses and to strengthen cross sector collaboration.
- Launched a Network sponsored Board Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to ensure that these values are incorporated throughout our Network and to address ongoing training and planning needs.
- With support from JFNA, sponsored a Scenario Planning effort, providing training in the process to member agencies, and developing recommendations that will guide our Network in a post-pandemic world.
- Developed and sponsored learning cohorts to address identified service needs:
- Two separate tele-mental health courses, engaging the participation of over 130 professionals from 30 member agencies.
- A 3 part training series engaging 120 professionals from 34 member agencies to explore alternative structures for emergency financial assistance programs.
- In partnership with generous funders, provided grants to 29 member agencies to advance efforts to address issues related to food insecurity and social isolation.
- Through the Network’s Jewish Poverty Challenge, provided monthly consulting guidance to 11 member agencies in their efforts to advance innovations related to service responses to Jewish Poverty, while also providing monthly webinars and educational content for the full Network.
As we gear up for 2021, we will continue efforts to ensure that our Network receives the support needed to thrive, as we all continue to navigate the implications of the pandemic. We welcome your thoughts, your engagement and your input throughout. This Network is your Network and the initiatives that are developed are in direct response to your organizational and community needs.
So that Network staff and leadership are able to start the new year with renewed energy and focus, the Network offices will be closed from December 25th through January 1st and will reopen on Monday, January 4th.
Till then, our best wishes to all for a peaceful, happy and healthy 2021.
Judy Halper, Board Chair
Reuben D. Rotman, President & CEO