Shabbat Message from Ezra S. Shanken

New partnerships maximize impact

Shabbat Message from CEO Ezra S. Shanken


December 17, 2021 | 13 Tevet 5782



This message has about 875 words and will take less than 3 minute to read.

We promised to update you on our next flood relief partnership, and I am very proud to let you know that we have partnered with the First Nations Emergency Services Society (FNESS). Together with the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN), FNESS found an important gap that we can close:
Many First Nations communities do not have any emergency kits—not a single one.
With many people being evacuated more than once, we have committed $50,000 from our BC Flood Relief Fund to make sure that 30 First Nations communities will receive kits.

Each kit includes tools and supplies to ensure people’s safety in times of disaster. The discount we received from SOS Technologies helped stretch your donation dollars so that we could maximize the number of kits we could purchase.
Our first 50 emergency kits will be delivered to FNESS on Tuesday.
Another 198 kits will be delivered in mid-January. We hope it will give these communities a small measure of comfort to know that these kits are in place if they need them.
I want to thank Etti Goldman at CIJA, who, once again, took the lead on developing the partnership with FNESS, as well as Gabe Bloomfield in our office, who worked with SOS. Of course, I also want to thank FNESS, the BCAFN and SOS for bringing this partnership to life.
The Jewish Community Foundation had exciting news to share about a partnership this week, too: the establishment of a new $1 million endowment fund to support Temple Sholom!
A very generous Temple Sholom member family seeded the fund and chose to establish it at the Foundation because they value the professional fund management and strong governance that the Foundation brings.
The family used their philanthropy to inspire others to give. The Foundation worked with Temple staff and leadership so they could confidently approach congregants to contribute to the fund to reach their endowment goal.  Now Temple Sholom has a stable source of income to support the synagogue in perpetuity.
Diane Switzer, chair of the Foundation’s board of governors had this to say: “We are very proud to manage endowment funds on behalf of organizations and synagogues like Temple Sholom that are crucial to the well-being of our community. We take our responsibility to prudently manage these investments very seriously.
Click here for a full list of institutional funds at the Foundation and read more in their newsletter, Makor.
We are also proud to announce another $584,265 in grants from the Community Recovery Fund.
These represent the last two groups of the Four Phased Grant Program of our Community Recovery Task Force, chaired by Risa Levine.
Transition grants support those organizations that received the government wage subsidy, which concluded in October to support their transition to other revenue sources:
Jewish Community Centre | $85,000
Richmond Jewish Day School | $42,666
Vancouver Hebrew Academy | $27,671
Jewish Museum and Archives of BC | $22,314
Shalhevet Girls High School | $19,604
Congregation Har El | $2,330
Transformation grants will support new and innovative initiatives that facilitate collaboration, effectiveness, and efficiency at the following organizations:
Beth Israel, Jewish Family Services and Vancouver Talmud Torah | $95,000
Jewish Community Centre | $40,000
Shalhevet Girls High School and Vancouver Hebrew Academy | $40,000
Jewish Museum and Archives of BC | $39,680
Schara Tzedeck and Torah West | $35,000
Hebrew Free Loan | $30,000
Jewish Seniors Alliance | $20,000
King David High School | $17,000
Tikvah Housing | $8,000
Temple Sholom | $10,000
Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre | $50,000
The next step will be for the task force to bring recommendations to our board for using the remaining recovery funds.
One of the earliest consequences of COVID-19 has been the negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of community members.
Earlier in the year, we were very fortunate to receive a generous gift from the Mel and Geri Davis Charitable Trust to create a position that specifically works with children and youth struggling with mental health issues. We established a committee composed of donors, lay leaders and agency professionals to develop a strategy and job description for this new position. A job description will be posted shortly.
The child and youth mental health worker will use an evidence based model that has been successful in working with youth struggling with mild and moderate mental health concerns and supporting parents seeking services that bridge the gap between early intervention and specialized treatment services.
We are also very pleased to report that we are working in partnership with Project L’Chaim to provide public and professional programming around mental health issues. A local project coordinator position will be hired shortly to undertake this work.
Project L’Chaim is an initiative to support teen mental health in Metro Vancouver and is sponsored by the Diamond Foundation in loving memory of Steven Diamond z”l. These two positions will greatly enhance our very effective but stretched existing resources.
I know we promised you some shorter Shabbat Messages, but with so many significant initiatives on the go, we need some room to tell you about them. Suffice it to say that we don’t slow down just because the year is drawing to a close. You’re in for something a bit different next week, when we’ll have a guest writer.


Shabbat Shalom.


Ezra S. Shanken

Chief Executive Officer