Mobilizing Our Community

Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic

COVID-19 drastically changed every segment of Greater Washington’s Jewish community. The Jewish Federation immediately mobilized to respond to the evolving needs of individuals, families, and organizations.

Led by Federation, the Greater Washington Jewish community’s response is sustaining organizations and individuals to confront urgent human service needs. Together, we have raised more than $6 million to focus on meeting evolving needs.

Our compassionate and generous donors are:

  • Directly supporting individuals who are struggling with financial distress, food insecurity, physical and mental health challenges, and more.
  • Ensuring our vital community institutions can remain resilient as they continue providing essential services.

Jewish Greater Washington at a glance:

300,000 Jews in the Greater Washington region.


18% of households in the DMV include a family member with a health limitation or disability.


2,000 Holocaust survivors live in Greater Washington.


6% of adults in Metro DC have elderly parents or close relatives living in a local independent or assisted living facility.

We are caring for:

  • People near and below the poverty line
  • People facing food or financial insecurity
  • Holocaust survivors
  • Seniors
  • Victims of domestic abuse
  • People facing mental health challenges
  • People with disabilities

We convene, collaborate with, and support:

  • Human service agencies
  • Jewish Community Centers
  • Jewish summer camps
  • Jewish Day Schools
  • Synagogues
  • Hillels on college campuses
  • Social action groups
  • Relationship-building organizations

We are helping people access:

  • Emergency cash and food assistance
  • Treatment for physical and mental health concerns
  • Safe places to live
  • Water, gas, electricity, and other utilities

Those who struggled to make ends meet before the pandemic are at even greater risk today of not being able to access basic necessities or Jewish life and identity building programming in their communities 

Prior to the pandemic, an estimated 6,000 Jewish households in Greater Washington anticipated being unable to pay for an emergency $400 expense.* COVID-19 exacerbated the needs of those already struggling. Federation’s unique role positioned us to drive an overarching, cross-communal effort to meet these needs. 

*Data from the 2017 Greater Washington Jewish Community Demographic Study, funded by The Morningstar Foundation. 

We rapidly mobilized leaders, donors, organizations, and resources to meet essential and evolving needs.

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$6+ million was raised for COVID-19 emergency relief and to meet ongoing human service needs.

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40% of our COVID-19 relief funding has helped individuals and families with rent and mortgage payments and 33% towards food assistance.

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1,500 people across 78 DC, MD, and Northern VA zip codes accessed emergency assistance.

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280+ callers across DC, MD, and Northern VA have been connected with vital resources through 703-J-CARING: the Jewish Community Support Line.

As of November 5, 2021, Federation’s Executive Committee approved $3,001,054 in grants and loans to address the most immediate needs.

Meeting Essential Needs
TOTAL: $1,137,054 in grants*


Organization Amount Impact
Yad Yehuda $105,000 To support programs like Tomchei Shabbos and the Capital Kosher Pantry, and provide emergency cash and food assistance to individuals.
Hebrew Free Loan Association of Greater Washington** $250,000 To increase the number of interest-free loans distributed and the threshold amount to support the community.
Rabbi Emergency Fund $145,000 To empower rabbis throughout Greater Washington to support their congregants in need.
Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington $25,000 To help individuals in our community, especially the ill and elderly as well as their caregivers, receive assistance for medical issues and other urgent needs .
Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA) $100,000 To redeploy existing staff to quickly and efficiently expand support to the community, particularly with cash and food assistance.
The Adel Fund $105,000 To provide support for short-term basic needs, including mortgage, rent, and medical payments, as well as counseling for help individuals solve issues like job applications and money management.
JCADA $113,750 To manage the increased volume in calls to their helpline, the expected increase in individuals needing long-term support, and reduce the amount of people on the waitlist.
GW Hillel and Edlavitch DCJCC $20,000 Vaccine Signup Support Project
703-J-CARING: The Jewish Community Support Line
A partnership between Federation, JSSA, and Jewish community human service organizations
$128,304 To ensure that residents of DC, MD, and Northern VA can access the full and broad variety of support and resources in our Jewish community with a single call.


*An additional $145,000 has been approved by Federation’s Executive Committee to be allocated as future needs arise.

**Federation has allocated $150,000 to Hebrew Free Loan, and the Norman R. Rales and Ruth Rales Foundation has committed a matching grant of $100,000.

Investing in Resilient Organizations
TOTAL: $1.86 million in grants


Organization Amount Impact
Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia $500,000 To cover fixed operating costs, including taxes, mortgage, insurance, and more, in order to allow the organization to focus on their core work of serving the community through this challenging time.
Bender JCC of Greater Washington $502,000 To cover fixed operating costs, including taxes, mortgage, insurance, and more, in order to allow the organization to focus on their core work of serving the community through this challenging time.
Capital Camps and Retreat Center $502,000 To cover fixed operating costs, including taxes, mortgage, insurance, and more, in order to allow the organization to focus on their core work of serving the community through this challenging time.
Edlavitch JCC of Washington DC $360,000 To cover fixed operating costs, including taxes, mortgage, insurance, and more, in order to allow the organization to focus on their core work of serving the community through this challenging time.

Together, we are helping individuals and families in need, stabilizing our community, and building a vibrant Jewish future in Greater Washington.


$1.3 million allocated to support individuals as well as further the implementation of Federation’s comprehensive and integrated anti-poverty initiative to address communal needs for the long-term.


$1.86 million invested in emergency funding to help vital organizations keep their doors open and our community connected during the pandemic—and beyond.

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$1.2 million in scholarships and financial aid is addressing pandemic-induced barriers to Jewish life and increase overall participation in early childhood education, day schools, and summer camps.

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In 2021, 600 local children received support from our community to attend Jewish summer camp, including through needs-based scholarships.

“Thank you so much for working so hard to get these generous scholarships for our families. This will make a big difference at a time when so many of our families are financially injured from COVID-19.”

—Allison Colker, Education Director, Shaare Torah

“We are so thankful for your partnership helping nearly 30 campers to attend Shoresh this summer that may not have attended otherwise.”

—Rabbi Tzvi Tuchman, Assistant Director, Camp Shoresh

Keeping our community connected: In March 2020, Federation launched “Connect with Purpose During COVID-19,” an online resource center leveraging our Jconnect platform for community members to learn about online events, access digital resources, and more.

: As COVID-19 and its aftereffects continue to impact our local community, Federation remains vigilant to ensure and secure the long-term future of individuals, families, and organizations. You can support our community’s recovery and safeguard the future of Jewish life in Greater Washington by making a gift today.

How else can you make an impact? At a time when many in our Greater Washington Jewish community need more assistance and support than ever before, Federation presents Jconnections, a platform created to connect those who need support with those who want to help. Whatever your current situation, we invite you to explore the easily accessible resources, curated volunteer opportunities, and simple tools needed to create and mobilize volunteer groups in acts of loving kindness.

Please consider contributing to Federation’s 2021 Annual Campaign. Your gift is the fuel that propels our vision for the community into a reality and allows Federation to continue to be a leader in developing and implementing programs that engage people in Jewish life and meet emerging and evolving needs.

*Allocations from the Jewish Community Coronavirus Response Fund are recommended by the Emergency Response Committee, chaired by Susie & Michael Gelman and Melanie & Larry Nussdorf, and approved by Federation’s Executive Committee.

Our Jewish community needs your support today. Your generous gift to Federation’s Annual Campaign will help meet the critical and growing needs of thousands of our friends, family members, and neighbors.

Call 703-J-CARING, the Jewish community support line.