In COVID-19 Relief For Safety Net Services And Support Of Jewish Education

On Monday, in response to the continuing challenges and hardships created by COVID-19, UJA-Federation of New York announces an additional $6.67 million in emergency spending for Safety Net Services and support of Jewish education. The emergency funds will come from UJA-Federation’s endowment, bringing the organization’s total allocations for emergency COVID relief to over $52 million. In addition, UJA has repurposed $2.5 million in existing COVID emergency loan funds to create a new loan program for the purchase of PPE by its nonprofit partners in the health and human service sector.

Of the $6.67 million, nearly $4.6 million will be used to strengthen and expand safety net services for 225,000 New Yorkers impacted by job loss, economic hardship, food insecurity, and mental health challenges. Another $2.1 million will be used to help 47 Jewish day schools reopen this fall, benefiting 34,000 students. 

“Since its inception over 100 years ago, UJA has been a major supporter of New York’s social service safety net, helping the most vulnerable in our community — Jews and non-Jews alike. We are also deeply committed to the cause of Jewish education. Today, we face unprecedented challenges on both fronts — which is why we’re drawing from UJA-Federation’s endowment to help support our community in crisis. This emergency funding is critical to help New Yorkers feed their families, find jobs, and receive counseling. At the same time, we have a duty to our Jewish schools to help support students and faculty returning to a safe and healthy school environment this fall,” said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York.


Safety Net — $4,570,000

The safety net funds will bolster existing capacity and service offerings at UJA’s health and human service nonprofit partners. Funds will be used for emergency cash grants for in-need households; legal counseling; and workforce development, including sector-based job training, resume writing, interview prep, networking, and placement services. Efforts to combat food insecurity include launching two new digital food pantries (in addition to the six UJA currently funds) and assistance with purchasing and the distribution of emergency food. Finally, community-based mental health supports will be bolstered at UJA nonprofit partner sites as well as at synagogues and day schools.


Jewish Education — $2,100,000

Since the start of the pandemic, UJA has allocated over $2 million to address new tuition assistance needs at Jewish day schools and yeshivot. The additional $2,100,000 in emergency funds will help offset the overwhelming start-up and ongoing reopening costs for schools across the region. Costs include building retrofitting, purchasing PPE, necessary technology enhancements, and more. This funding is made possible in part thanks to The Paul E. Singer Foundation, which generously contributed $500,000 through the Jewish Communal Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF) to augment funding for particularly under-resourced schools.

Terry Kassel, Trustee of the Singer Foundation, said, “We believe in these schools, and their students, as they chart a course for the Jewish future—before, during, and after this pandemic. And we are proud to help them open their doors this fall.”


PPE Loan Program — $2,500,000

UJA repurposed $2.5 million from a previously created COVID emergency loan fund, to be used for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for eligible nonprofit partners. In addition, joining an initiative led by Jewish Federations of North America for collective purchasing to responsibly manage costs, UJA is focused on efficiently sourcing and distributing PPE to front-line agencies that need it.