Caring for our Community: A Message from Gil Preuss

Caring for our Community: A Message from Gil Preuss

Friends,

There is no doubt this has been a challenging summer in Greater Washington. But I am optimistic about our future because I continue to see community members consistently and compassionately showing up to care for one another.

Since Federation opened the Jewish Community Coronavirus Response Fund just a few months ago, our community has raised $4.4 million to help those most impacted by the pandemic. Every generous donor to this fund should feel bolstered by having helped the individuals in our community left most vulnerable by the pandemic and its ripple effects. One individual recently wrote to share the impact of emergency funding on her life:

“This help came at a crucial time, during which it has been not only hard to find gainful employment due to the pandemic and my ongoing [medical issues], but also because I took time off to be by my terminally ill mother’s side. She passed away one week ago, and having that financial aid helped me to keep my housing for at least a couple more months as I convalesce. … I am so grateful to my community for helping me.”

To date, we have facilitated 1,213 grants to individuals and families suffering from COVID-19-related health and economic challenges. This support, provided in partnership with organizations like the Adel Fund, Yad Yehuda, JCADA, JSSA, and Hebrew Free Loan Association of Greater Washington, has helped people in need access vital food assistance; grants for mortgage, rent, and medical payments; and counseling to help individuals with job searches or money management.

And most recently, Federation allocated a new round of emergency funding to our three local Jewish Community Centers and to Capital Camps and Retreat Center: Jewish organizations upon which thousands of people in our community rely for engagement, Jewish identity-building, human connection, and in many cases, comfort—especially during difficult times.

This emergency funding ensures that, even as we continue to face uncertainty, our community members will continue to have access to vibrant Jewish life, today and long after this crisis ends. For example, 1,000 campers will experience the Jewish identity-building of another summer at overnight camp; 600 young children will have access to Jewish early childhood education, and more than 100,000 seniors, teens, children, and adults will continue to benefit from our community’s three JCCs. These grants will help thousands of additional community members connect with one another and with Jewish communal life—even if that connection happens online for the time being.

Together, we have taken a significant step towards caring for our community members’ physical, emotional, and social needs. Jewish Greater Washington’s resilient and compassionate response to this challenging time will continue to serve us as we navigate the coming months. Because, of course, there remains much work to be done.

As fall quickly approaches, our community must prepare for yet another season of increasing and evolving needs. Federation is committed to continuing our critical work: responding to changing circumstances and seeking innovative ways to help community members in need of immediate assistance as well as ongoing and meaningful Jewish experiences.

If you need help, please call 703-J-CARING: The Jewish Community Support Line for warm assistance from a JSSA professional ready to connect you with available resources and services. If you are in a position to help, I urge you to make a donation to the Jewish Community Coronavirus Response Fund.

Shabbat Shalom,
Gil