[by Phyllis Shaikun]
In February 2010, the Jewish Hospital organization launched the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence (JHFE – formerly the JHHS Louisville Jewish Community Excellence Grants) as part of its historic support of the hospital’s founding community. The program was created to provide financial assistance to not-for-profit organizations offering programs focused on Jewish culture/identity, health, human services and education. Since its inception, the JHFE has provided more than $900,000 in excellence grants funding to the local Jewish community.
The JHFE is a non-profit organization headed by Board Chair Louis Waterman and Interim Executive Director Jeff Polson. The grants process is overseen by a committee chaired by David Kaplan. The JHFE is not associated with the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation, which continues to function with its own separate board, dollars and restricted endowments.
Over the years, Excellence Grants have enabled organizations such as the Jewish Community of Louisville, Jewish Family & Career Services, the High School of Jewish Studies, the Jewish Community Center, Louisville Beit Sefer Yachad (the Louisville Hebrew School) and Congregations Adath Jeshurun, Anshei Sfard and Keneseth Israel, The Temple and Temple Shalom to pursue and sponsor innovative new programs that have enriched our entire community.
In 2012, more than $375,000 in Excellence Grants funding has been awarded to a variety of local organizations supporting programs and services for members of the Jewish community from their early years to senior status.
“The Louisville Jewish Film Festival’s new partnership with the Muhammad Ali Center was made possible through the use of funding we received from an Excellence Grant,” said Festival Chairperson Marsha Bornstein. “This partnership widens our exposure to the general community and is helping us provide another family event featuring the film, Hava Nagila, a light supper, and The Lost Tribe Klezmer Band at a very reasonable cost.”
“Congregation Adath Jeshurun’s Vision Committee is very appreciative of their JHFE grant, which will be used to fund the spring segment of the popular series they sponsor, LIVE at the 92nd Street Y,” says Committee Chair Ruth Greenberg. “Thanks to the grant, every member of the Louisville community will have the opportunity to attend lectures by nationally and internationally respected artists, scholars and performers at no charge! The schedule of programs, dates and times is being finalized and will appear in Community and other media shortly.”
Faye Weinberg, president of Keneseth Israel Synagogue, said the congregation was overwhelmed this fall when artist Bill Fischer gifted them the original acrylic paintings used to create the sanctuary’s magnificent stained glass windows. The gift came with the stipulation that the paintings be restored and preserved. “The JHFE grant we received was key to their reclamation and our ability to display them for the benefit and the Jewish and Louisville Arts communities,” she said. “We are eternally grateful for this generous support.”
“We are fortunate in our community to have such wonderful gems-our Jewish seniors,” says Cindy Hytken, head of the weekly Chavurat Shalom program hosted by The Temple. “We are so grateful for the generous grant from the JHFE that allows us to offer seniors affordable lunches and transportation to-and-from the programs. It really makes a difference for those on a fixed income.”
An Excellence Grant to Jewish Family & Career Services will enable the agency to buy a vehicle to help meet the growing demand of their Senior PALS transportation program. “We are thrilled to receive this funding, which will make a huge impact in the lives of our Jewish seniors,” says JFCS Executive Director Judy Freundlich Tiell. “We will now be better able to serve their needs, keeping them safe and independent in their own homes.” A second JHFE grant will allow JFCS to host a caregiver conference in 2013.
Jewish Community of Louisville Vice President/Chief Development Officer, Stew Bromberg, expressed his organization’s appreciation for the JHFE’s grant in support of their seniors program. The grant provided several benefits including helping the JCL fulfill a match-challenge for a new handicap-accessible van, acquire new kitchen equipment to ensure the availability of daily kosher meals and helping to cover the increased expenses of serving an expanding number of seniors participating in programs.
The Temple’s Joyce Eiseman notes there has been “a wonderful difference in family programming” due to their JHFE grants. By offering “Kids Eat FREE” at November’s Family Shabbat dinner, usual attendance doubled. Excellence Grant funding also covered a portion of the materials used during monthly Sunday morning holiday preschool programs. Another Excellence Grant helps fund The Temple’s Non-Jewish Parents Raising Jewish Children initiative. Both mothers and fathers take part in discussions and learning experiencexs to better understand Judaism from an adult perspective.
Louisville Beit Sefer Yachad (LBSY), the former Louisville Hebrew School, has received a generous Excellence Grant to fund the cost of purchasing interactive whiteboards for use in classrooms, according to principal, Rabbi David Feder. “Having access to this technology,” he says, “will add excitement to our classrooms, increase enthusiasm and help to prepare our students for charting Judaism’s path into the future.”
Rabbi David Ariel-Joel was particularly appreciative of the grant to The Temple’s adult learning program. “We are having a wonderful year at Temple Scholars,” he said, “thanks to generous grants from JHFE. More than 50 students are participating and they have been inspired by the highly acclaimed Shalom Hartman Institute learning program, which was purchased with grant funding.”
For more information about Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Grants, contact Jeff Polson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (502) 718-6466.