[by Shiela Steinman Wallace, Editor]
Jewish Family & Career Services marked 105 years of service to the community at its Annual Meeting on Tuesday, June 4, at its Roth Family Center. It was an evening to recognize, achievement, innovation, service and volunteers.
The Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence is one of JFCS’s major funders. The grants it has provided to JFCS help meet the agency’s needs in the areas of Jewish parenting, caregiver support, the health fair, the website, management programs, outreach to volunteers and sponsorship for the M.O.S.A.I.C. Awards.
In gratitude, she presented Jeff Polson, JHFE’s interim executive director with a copy of the David Kochka statue, “Family,” that stands in front of the agency’s building.
Polson thanked her, noting that JFCS is a good partner and Tiell is a mentor as JHFE embarks on strategic planning and refines its grant making process.
JFCS President Debbie Friedman presented silver President’s Volunteer Service Awards to Linda Goodman and Carol Fogel for the work they do in the Food Pantry. Bronze awards were presented to Bonnie Bloom, Doug Harper, Frankie Bloom, Jan Glaubinger, Lisa Rothstein-Goldberg, Sidney Katz, Sue LaSalle, Tami Penner and Sue Ament for their service to many programs and services in the agency.
Friedman also presented Kentucky Governor’s Volunteer Awards to Janet and Sonny Meyer in recognition the establishment of the Food Pantry and everything they do for it.
In recognition of the successful conclusion of JFCS’s 100th Anniversary Campaign, which raised over $3 million for the agency, Friedman made a special presentation to past president Jay Klempner, who spearheaded the fundraising.
A regular part of JFCS’s Annual Meeting is the presentation of the Mary Gunther Memorial Award. The award is given annually to recognize the best new program of the year. There were five submissions this year, and Senior PALS (Passport Around Louisville Service) was judged the best because it is easy-to-use and affordable, uses a combination of volunteers and paid individuals, builds on client strengths and breaks down barriers that limit independence, has adapted over time, bringing new clients to JFCS, generates sufficient funds to maintain operation and over the course of each year, generates an increase of income from the mandatory assessments which are covered by other external funding sources, has become a self-sustaining program of Klein Older Adult Services and is forecast to serve over 500 clients this year.
Staff members Naomi Malka, Megan Hand, Ray Gentry and Jennifer Long shared the $600 prize.
Other programs that were nominated were Career Planning Services through the Career Academy, the Doris L. and Theodore B. Meyers Shabbos Friends Program, JFCS Jobs & Enterprise Center at YouthBuild Louisville and Job Search Turn Around.
The award honors the memory of Mary Gunther, a former Career Services secretary who gave the agency 23 years of dedicated service.
As president, Friedman presented an overview of JFCS’ accomplishments over the year. Many of JFCS’s clients are coping with financial insecurity and job loss, she said, which means that the Food Pantry, Hanukah Helpers and emergency support programs continue to be important.
She said the agency is blessed with a “fantastic Board” and a strong strategic planning process. The M.O.S.A.I.C. Awards were the most successful ever, and there have been some smaller friendraiser fundraisers.
Bonnie Bizer started a new fund designed to help with increasing emergency service needs for Jewish individuals and families, Friedman reported and Caregiver Survival training has been offered thanks to a grant from JHFE.
A collaboration with YouthBuild has grown and JFCS is working with their jobs and enterprise center, providing employment and micro-business services and personal counseling.
JFCS received three major grants from the Office of Refugee Resettlement, part of the Administration for Children and Families of the US Department of Health and Human Services this year, Friedman said. A micro-enterprise grant helps refugees start businesses and provides access to micro loans; Individual Development Accounts help refugees to save money which is matched by the government for a first home, education or small business; and a microenterprise program helps refugee women to learn how to start child care centers in their home.
JFCS’s Navigate Enterprise Center started 16 businesses and expanded eight more. It gave eight micro loans for a total of $54,000 and leveraged three other loans with other resources for $15,000.
The Job Search Turnaround Workshop which targets the long-term unemployed, had over a 60 percent success rate in helping participants find jobs, Friedman said, and there has been an increase in number of rides for seniors through Senior PALS and subsidized home care for seniors.
More than 500 people volunteered at least once at JFCS this year for a total of nearly 25,000 hours donated.
Friedman also praised the Board, staff and ongoing communications.
Tiell’s Executive Director’s report paralleled and expanded upon Friedman’s comments.
The agency served almost 9,000 people across the region. “We continue to see more people, who have fewer resources and need more services,” she said, “but the level of creativity, commitment and passion exhibited by our Board and staff to meet those challenges is unparalleled.”
They have done so by expanding partnerships, using more volunteers and developing a strategic road map. JFCS helps seniors remain safely in their homes and offers help to people of all ages with life and business skills.
She praised the professionalism, enthusiasm and creativity of the staff, the partnerships the staff and Board have and Debbie Friedman’s leadership.
Tiell recognized all staff member publicly and explained what each does for the agency, and gave special recognition to Marilyn Bornstein, who was retiring. Bornstein was a long-time volunteer for JFCS and came to work for the agency in 1991 to work with seniors.
Mark Ament, chair of the Board Governance Committee presented the slate of Board members and officers. Billy Altman, Laura Klein, Larry Kass, and Sean Wachsman were re-elected to three-year terms. Carlyn Altman, Ed Cohen, Janet Hodes, Diane Tobin and Stephi Wolff were elected to three-year terms.
Officers and at-large members of the Executive Committee elected that evening were president, Debbie Friedman; vice presidents, Sandi Friedson and Stephanie Mutchnick; treasurer, Marty Margulis; immediate past president, Mark Ament; at-large members: Jay Klempner, Marc Charnas and Peter Resnik.
Three members completed their terms on the Board: Hunt Schuster, Lance Gilbert and Shelley Breier.