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Amplifying Our Impact Together in Pittsburgh

2024 Highlights

  • 547 Attendees (227 First Time Attendees!)
  • 108 Member Agencies Represented
  • 40 Person Investors Summit
  • 38 ConferenceSponsors
  • 33 Professional Workshops
  • 14 NETGroup Connection Lunches
  • 4 Deep Dive Sessions
  • 4 Site Visits to JFCS Pittsburgh & The Branch
  • 3 Plenary Speakers
  • 1 Special Exhibition: RUAH Jewish Archives October 27th Tribute Collection

Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle | May 15, 2024

A field of hope in times of distress

Many thanks to Jordan Golin, CEO of Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Pittsburgh for the beautiful Op-Ed he wrote about his experience at PowerNET 2024.

“The Network conference was a chance for staff of agencies like JFCS and The Branch, from across North America and Israel, to support each other, to learn from each other and to marvel at the dedication our peers are demonstrating during these incredibly distressing and painful times.”

Impact and Professional Award Winners

On behalf of the Grants and Opportunities Committee, The Network is thrilled to announce the winners of the PowerNET 2024 Impact and Professional Leadership Awards.

Impact Award Winner

“Be Your Best Self” ™ is a social-emotional wellness program addressing the mental health challenges affecting children and adolescents. It was created in response to the COVID pandemic, which severely challenged healthy childhood development and created social-emotional stress that continued post-pandemic. Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Northern New Jersey worked with their school partners to craft a collaborative solution to the social-emotional issues that students were exhibiting in school. They developed group lesson plans that could be implemented during the school day or in an afterschool setting, to be offered by a JFCS licensed mental health therapist. These lessons became a 6-8 week curriculum, which then became a formal program called “Be Your Best Self.” ™

Thus far, JFCSNNJ has brought “Be Your Best Self” ™ to 13 schools and worked with six community partners, reaching hundreds of children and teens facing social-emotional challenges. Evaluation through questionnaires to facilitators, teachers, and parents of students enrolled in the program has highlighted successes: children and adolescents have been more open in communication, identified ways to use what they learned outside of the group, and showed respect and kindness to their peers.

The program is a model of creativity and ingenuity in addressing children’s social-emotional health needs and can be replicated with other agencies and providers to implement in their communities.

Professional Leadership Award Winner

Dr. Sandra E. Braham, President & CEO, Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services, Inc.

Sandra has been with Gulf Coast JFCS for eight years, joining the agency after the unexpected loss of their CEO. Leading with empathy and compassion, she helped staff collectively create a path forward while they healed. Under her leadership, the agency has grown significantly in size, scope and impact, now serving more than 30,000 clients across 40 counties in Florida. She has initiated many new programs, diversified services and funding sources and strengthened partnerships with other community organizations. Sandra has fostered a culture of collaboration, innovation, and excellence within the agency, empowering staff to pursue their professional goals and personal passions. She is a respected and trusted leader who has made Gulf Coast JFCS a model of service excellence and social impact.

Sandra is active in and committed to The Network. She leads the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and has initiated and facilitated various workshops, webinars, and dialogues on topics such as unconscious bias, cultural competence, and anti-racism. She co-chaired the ExecNet Conference Committee. Sandra has been a mentor and coach to many emerging and aspiring leaders in The Network, offering guidance, feedback, and encouragement and has offered mentorship and assistance to other Network member agencies.

Professional Leadership Award Winner

Dr. Yonit Hoffman, Senior Director of Holocaust Community Services, CJE SeniorLife, Chicago

Yonit started with Holocaust Community Services 10 years ago. She quickly found that the need in the community was far greater than previously realized. In 2014, the program was serving about 250 survivors from the Chicago metropolitan region, with a growing list of survivors reaching out for help for the first time. Under her leadership, by 2020, the program had grown to helping more than 2,000 survivors on an annual basis to meet their basic needs via financial assistance for food, medication, and in-home personal caregiving services, as well as their functional and social-emotional needs via case management, counseling, support groups, reparations assistance, and socialization opportunities. Yonit is fully committed to ensuring that each survivor’s needs are met, offering them the resources and programming they deserve with dignity. She is an astute clinician, careful and critical thinker, responsive supervisor, and a true educator. She is fiercely devoted to her clients, her team, and her mission.

Yonit is very active in The Network, including in the Holocaust Survivor Services Affinity NETGroup, which she cochaired for 2 years. She also served this year on a Network conference committee reviewing workshop proposals and has led and supported her team in submitting successful proposals for multiple Network conferences, including this year’s. She has also been generous in sharing her experience and leadership with managers of other Holocaust survivor services programs around the country, many of whom are Network members. This year, she participated in The Network’s mission to Hodgewyk dementia village near Amsterdam, where she had the opportunity to share her expertise with an international audience.