Resilient Jewish Communal Organizations: February 2021

With gratitude for your leadership, support, and partnership, I am pleased to share the update below on Federation’s recent work—efforts I hope you will feel proud to have helped make possible. As always, if you have questions or ideas to share, you can reach me directly at [email protected].


PS: Read more on our efforts and leaders in these recent Washington Jewish Week stories:


Federation Focus: February 2021

Federation’s Plan for Communal Vibrancy—a driving force behind our work for the coming 2-4 years—is defined by three overarching priorities: supporting individuals & families, investing in resilient organizations, and accelerating vibrant Jewish life. Across our endeavors, we strive to strengthen and sustain Jewish life and identity-building opportunities and to ensure that every community member can connect with others and with Jewish life in ways that are meaningful to them.

The pandemic continues to exacerbate critical needs in Greater Washington, and requests for food and housing assistance are among the most prevalent in our Jewish community. Addressing these and other evolving challenges remains a top priority for Federation.

  • To date, more than half a million dollars in Federation grants has helped nearly 1,500 people access emergency assistance across 78 DC, MD, and VA zip codes.
  • We are also developing a new anti-poverty initiative focused on food insecurity, housing/financial insecurity, job training and placement, and mental health and domestic abuse. In tackling these four areas, we expect to address the major stressors that present barriers to an individual’s/family’s ability to support themselves. This initiative is informed in part by data from 703-J-CARING: the Jewish Community Support Line, which continues to connect callers with resources from across Greater Washington.

We will provide updates on our efforts to combat poverty and care for our community as the situation evolves.

Strong community organizations are vital to building a vibrant Jewish future in Greater Washington. As we work to meet the changing needs of our community over time, Federation continues to focus on how we can most effectively support the institutions directly serving our community members. In addition to the millions of dollars we allocate annually to our partners; our support includes convening regular opportunities for listening and collaboration with and between local organizations. One such recent conversation led to a particularly meaningful partnership between Edlavitch DCJCC and Hillel at The George Washington University.

Supporting our partners took on renewed significance in the wake of COVID-19. In the spring of 2020, the Federal government approved the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help struggling organizations stay afloat. Through a collaborative approach to helping organizations navigate the challenging process, every local Jewish organization that applied for a loan was approved to receive one—infusing Jewish Greater Washington with $25 million in loans during a critical moment.

Today, as round two of applications for PPP loans has opened, Federation is again providing resources for the loan process. This support includes a JFNA webinar, updated set of Frequently Asked Questions, and connections with banks/lenders that will take on non-clients for PPP loan applications.

We will provide updates on the process and results of local loan applications as they are available. For questions regarding the process, please contact Lexi Bock Robbins or the Jewish Federations SBA Loan hotline at [email protected].

With an eye towards the future—including this summer and the coming school year—Federation is addressing the barriers presented by the pandemic to participation in and access to Jewish life. Through a significant investment in scholarships and financial aid, we are optimistically working to increase family participation in Jewish early childhood education, day schools, and summer camps.

Today, with gratitude to our dedicated lay and professional leaders for their incredible work in developing new funding models, more than $1.2 million has been approved for investment in these efforts.


  • $379,000+ will support scholarships and financial aid for families attending day camps, overnight camps, and to deepen the grant pool for Federation’s One Happy Camper (OHC) program. These dollars were the first approved, and our OHC pool has now been completely utilized for 2021.
  • $235,800+ will empower more families to send their children to one of the nearly 40 local Jewish Early Childhood Education Centers, with a goal of increasing enrollment following a nearly 50% decline in those numbers due to the pandemic.
  • $585,000+ will help more families send their children to one of our region’s six Jewish day schools.

In helping more families opt into Jewish experiences for their children, we are also investing in the future leadership of our community.


  • On March 1, we will welcome Molly Gravholt as Federation’s Chief Financial & Administrative Officer. Molly is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 20 years of experience in non-profit financial management. She will oversee our administrative, financial, and essential business functions and lead the development of scalable systems and processes across the organization. Molly’s background in and talent for finance, operations, and cross-functional leadership make her a phenomenal addition to our team, and I look forward to working alongside her in pursuit of our mission.
  • I am also pleased to share that Monica Herman has been promoted to Federation’s Chief Marketing Officer. Monica has been a guiding force behind our marketing and communications efforts since joining our team in 2015. Her recent accomplishments include leading the development and launch of Federation’s new brand platform, Connect with Purpose, and the strategic thinking and positioning of our communications throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

None of the work outlined above would be possible without your support and commitment to strengthening and sustaining your Jewish community. Thank you again for everything that you do. If you have questions about our shared impact, are interested in learning more, or would like to enhance your involvement in our efforts, please feel free to reach out to me at any time.