Federation Releases Community Recovery Funds

Community recovery turned a pivotal corner today, when 21 partner agencies and community organizations received grants funded by generous contributions to Jewish Federation’s Community Recovery Fund. The grants, totalling $416,000, are the first round of critical community recovery funding that is designated specifically to address organizations’ urgent and emerging needs resulting from COVID-19.

Recognizing just how hard organizations have been hit by the pandemic, the funds were distributed as swiftly as possible, so they could go to work where they are most needed. Hours after Jewish Federation’s board of directors approved the Community Recovery Task Force’s funding recommendations, cheques were in the hands of grant recipients.

Grants in this first round of Community Recovery funding were awarded to 19 of Jewish Federation’s partner agencies, including day schools, as well as the Louis Brier Home and Hospital and the Hebrew Free Loan Association. Synagogues and other places of worship, also part of this initial cycle, will be notified of their funding in late February.

Responding to Areas of Need
COVID-19’s impact has adversely affected myriad aspects of organizations’ operations. Grants were awarded to support a range of needs, from new ventilation systems that will improve onsite health and safety, to food security and rental revenue losses, to important technological purchases and upgrades necessary to deliver and maintain core programs. The task force’s primary goal was to ensure organizations’ ongoing sustainability in a time of growing uncertainty.

“The task force was very inspired and moved by the grant process, both by the quality of the applications and the extent to which our agencies and community organizations have adapted their operations to continue to provide, and even enhance, their core programs and services,” said Risa Levine, chair of the Community Recovery Task Force. “We also are grateful to the many generous donors who stepped up to ensure our community’s continuity.”

Grant recipients include:

Burquest Jewish Community Association
$25,000 to purchase updated technology for online programs and services and to help sustain ongoing operations.

Camp Hatikvah
$25,000 to help sustain operations and offset the cancellation of the 2020 camp year.

Camp Miriam
$9,000 for PPE and other safety equipment for day and overnight camps, and to provide emotional support for counsellors.

Hebrew Free Loan Association
$15,000 for loans to individuals who have been hard-hit by COVID-19 and have difficulty getting guarantors.

Hillel BC
$25,000 for technology to enable staff to work remotely, and to help sustain operations so that important programs for students continue to be available.

Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver
$25,000 for operational support to help sustain the delivery of programs and services.

Jewish Family Services
$25,000 to purchase food for two new regional hubs as well as software to support food bank logistics.

Jewish Museum and Archives of BC
$25,000 for upgraded technology to enable staff to work remotely and to maintain programs and services.

Jewish Seniors Alliance
$21,932 for iPads to enable isolated seniors to stay connected.

Kehila Society of Richmond
$1,500 to upgrade their Zoom subscription, providing enhanced capability to connect with community members.

King David High School
$25,000 for onsite health and safety equipment and enhanced cleaning services to keep students, teachers and staff safe.

Louis Brier Home and Hospital
$25,000 to replace their aging HVAC system, improving the quality and cleanliness of air circulated in the facility.

Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture
$6,407 for new technology that will maximize the delivery of online programs to community members.

Richmond Jewish Day School
$25,000 to upgrade and replace aging wiring, so that the school can expand its capacity to support online learning.

Shalhevet Girls High School
$25,000 to upgrade their aging HVAC system and help protect students, teachers and staff against COVID.

Tikva Housing Society
$7,760 for laptops and cellphones to enable staff to work remotely and stay connected.

Vancouver Hebrew Academy
$25,000 for onsite health and safety equipment and to support greater tuition assistance.

Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre
$25,000 for enhanced technology to support the delivery of online programs, and to offset the loss of program revenues.

Vancouver Jewish Film Centre
$13,500 to acquire a new digital platform to screen films and build subscriptions, expanding their reach to fans of Jewish arts and culture.

Vancouver Talmud Torah
$25,000 for PPE and other onsite health and safety equipment, and enhanced cleaning services to keep students and staff safe.

White Rock Jewish Community Centre
$15,000 to hire a part-time staff position to support the delivery of virtual programs.

A Rigorous Process
Throughout the late summer and fall, the Community Recovery Task Force, chaired by Risa Levine, met with representatives of partner agencies and other community organizations to understand exactly how COVID-19 and its unrelated uncertainties had affected their operations and future planning. Key themes emerged from these conversations, which informed the grant application process and funding categories.

The primary criterion for funding was a demonstration of pressing and evolving challenges due to the pandemic, with funding requests capped at $25,000. Grant applications were received and reviewed by the Community Recovery Task Force in mid-January.

Additional Funding in the Months Ahead 
These grants are the first of three funding distributions from the Community Recovery Fund that the task force plans to recommend in the coming year. The grant cycles have intentionally been spread out over a longer period to accommodate ongoing uncertainty and new areas of impact that may emerge in the months ahead, as the effects of COVID-19 continue to evolve and government support programs end.