Needs and Responses

Human Services (North America)

Needs

Personnel Issues

  • Protecting employees who are on the front lines, including providing sick pay if they need to be quarantined.
  • Meeting payroll
  • Anticipating potential layoffs
  • Many staff members are less efficient, because they are working from home with children 

Increased Demand for Services

  • Food insecurity is increasing among clients.
  • Clients concerned about paying rent, homelessness.
  • Many clients were already living on the edge before coronavirus hit.
  • As one human services nonprofit employee put it, “Social distancing is harder when you are poor, must go to work, don’t have internet at home and must rely on public transportation.” Another noted: “Many people are one crisis away from utter poverty.”
  • Many clients have complex additional needs, such as disabilities, health issues or substance abuse problems.

Difficulty Obtaining Needed Supplies/Materials

  • Food banks report difficulty getting items for clients that are in short supply everywhere. 
  • Nursing homes and others need supplies, including personal protective gear, and are having difficulty obtaining them because of scarce supply and inflated prices.

End-Of-Life Care, Including Funeral Preparation/Burial Services 

  • According to a document prepared by the David Berg Foundation funerals and burials are the most pressing immediate need as many COVID-19 patients are dying quickly. However, other aspects such as palliative care will also require support. Palliative care will be needed for those who do not recover quickly, have been on ventilators, and will need end of life support.
  • The Berg Foundation notes that “rules and norms in this area have had to be adjusted due to COVID-19 and there is need for
    protective gear. Many Chevra Kadisha [burial society] members are themselves elderly.”
  • Many families are challenged by a limited amount of burial spaces in certain areas, as well as burdensome fees for additional services beyond burials themselves, such as transportation and headstone installation.

Coping with Closures of Facilities Due to Social Distancing/Quarantine

  • How to get food, medication and other services to clients if agencies cannot keep facilities open due to social distancing requirements.
  • Difficulty recruiting and mobilizing volunteers due to social distancing.

Serving Seniors

In a July report on business continuity issues for major Jewish communal networks in response to coronavirus, Jewish Federations of North America noted that “throughout the world, the infirm, elderly population has been the most severely impacted of all population groups during this pandemic period.”

Senior care facilities, according to JFNA, are experiencing significantly increased costs from several factors:

  • Skyrocketing costs of PPE supplies: “As a result of heightened demand during the pandemic, shortages and distribution issues, it can cost $23 or more in PPE expenses every time a single nurse, caregiver or service worker enters a resident room properly attired.”
  • PPE, JFNA notes, is not reimbursed and must be paid for directly by each facility. Total increases in PPE costs alone across Jewish long-term care facilities are estimated at $12M for 2020. 
  • Dramatically increased labor expenses, including managing drastic staffing shortages when staff become ill.
  • Most facilities are closed to new admissions, further impacting revenue streams.
  • JFNA reports that while all senior care institutions accept Medicare and Medicaid, “it is important to realize that reimbursement levels scarcely account for 50% of the cost of nursing home care during normal days.”

Revenue/Donation Sources are Down

  • Loss of fee-for-service revenues
  • Loss of revenues from cancelled fundraising events
  • Grantees that typically receive donated food and supplies from hotels, restaurants and grocery stores are not receiving them now.

Issues Specific to Community Based Service Agencies as of July 2020 (Source: Jewish Federations of North America)

Read an April 2020 status report on these issues here.

These front-line crisis response service agencies have been highly disrupted by COVID-19 and have needed to close their facilities and dramatically alter the manner in which they operate, resulting in a loss of ability to meet clients in person or deliver home-based services in traditional manners. In almost every case, the agencies are experiencing a decrease in revenue and increased costs associated with providing service. A recent survey of member agencies estimated a total budget shortfall attributable to COVID-19 of $50M through June 30, 2020. This is due to both an increase in required services and a decrease in revenue.

  • Less than one-third of NJHSA member agencies have some operating reserves on which to draw, and many of these reserves will cover only a small part of this shortfall.
  • As unemployment grows and as individuals’ unemployment extends into months, agencies are starting to see the beginnings of the tidal wave of resulting need.
  • Agencies will lose most fundraising revenue from Q2 (and most likely Q3 and Q4) of the fiscal year due to cancelled events. Many are also incurring related cancellation fees.
  • PPE expenses are rising as supplies are currently sold at a significant markup from pre-COVID prices; the markup associated with this purchase was estimated in the aggregate at $2.2M as of June 30, 2020.

More than a quarter (29%) of member agencies expect to lay off staff, and more than one-third (35%) expect to furlough staff while some expect to do both. Moreover, two-thirds of agencies report an expected inability to maintain current service levels beyond the next three to five months for core populations (older adults, financially at-risk adults, children, teens and college students).

As a result of the pandemic, these agencies are seeing increased and new needs among the unemployed, older adults, families living with high conflict/domestic violence, refugees and asylum seekers, and persons with disabilities

Responses

Since May the National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty has been hosting a series of webinars and virtual meetups to discuss the many challenges the coronavirus pandemic has created for Jews facing poverty and the agencies that serve them. These briefings are an opportunity to hear the needs from the service providers on the ground supporting our front lines, share best practices and information, and strategize on ways to respond collectively.

Each webinar is moderated by Susan Ditkoff of The Bridgespan Group Boston and will feature key leaders and focus on particular needs.

Find out about upcoming webinars in the Resources section at the bottom of this page.

Watch all past webinars in this series here:

UJA-Federation of New York has allocated approximately $45 million in emergency funding to meet needs across the New York region and in Israel. In New York, this includes grants to expand food distribution, offer virtual programming for homebound seniors, and support the operational capacity of key human service agencies, Jewish community centers, and to assist low-income populations, and to ensure that no Jewish casualty of the virus will be denied a dignified burial.

The Rose Community Foundation (Denver) awarded over 120 grants totaling $1,566,754. The grants were directed to nonprofit organizations and government agencies on the front lines of COVID-19 prevention, containment and response and are specifically aimed at supporting the Greater Denver region’s most vulnerable and impacted populations.

This collection of grants – focused primarily on prevention, containment and emergency response to the basic need impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations – represents the first of three anticipated COVID-19 grantmaking phases. Future grantmaking will develop to meet evolving community needs and will likely address impact mitigation and, eventually, recovery and stabilization efforts. The Foundation explained its three-phased plan for funding, which it believes can serve as a model for other Jewish funders during the coronavirus crisis, in this eJewishPhilanthropy article.

Providing Critical Personal Protective Equipment for Jewish Healthcare Providers and Institutions: JFN, the Jewish Federations of North America, and the North American Volunteer Network are teaming up (and raising funds) to purchase equipment and distribute to the Association of Jewish Aging Services and the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies. Learn more here. 

A document prepared by the David Berg Foundation describes the work being done by nonprofits providing end-of-life and funeral services in response to Covid-19, including a dramatic increase in burials by the Hebrew Free Burial Association in New York, and a successful campaign requesting donated prayer shawls for burial. 

The Jewish United Fund in Chicago announced a $26 million coronavirus initiative to be used for: Emergency financial aid, including cash grants for housing, food, medical care and other essentials for individuals and families. Some assistance will be provided through synagogues’ Rabbinic Discretionary Funds; Increased food assistance, including expansion of pantries, grocery gift cards and meal programs; Health and safety, including enhanced staffing, trauma counseling and personal protective equipment for Mount Sinai Hospital, residential programs and other caregivers serving seniors and people with disabilities; and Community stability, including emergency operating support and professional expertise for local Jewish human service and educational agencies.

The Azrieli Foundation approved an emergency fund on March 18, earmarking $2 million to be directed to immediate needs in Canada, and NIS 10M to needs in Israel. Priority areas include serving the elderly and Holocaust survivors (particularly for food and basic needs), the educational and psychosocial needs of at-risk youth and special-needs learners, services for individuals with disabilities.

The Jewish Federation of San Diego County, Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego and Leichtag Foundation have partnered to establish the San Diego Jewish Community COVID-19 Emergency Fund. The accelerating scale of COVID-19 calls for a coordinated, streamlined response to support those who are most vulnerable and impacted primarily in San Diego’s Jewish community. A consortium of initial funders have already contributed more than $1.6 million to launch this Fund. This urgent effort will gather information about community needs and immediately allocate funds, employing effective processes that proved successful in prior crises.

The Jewish Communal Fund announced $1 million in emergency coronavirus response grants on April 6. This injection of funding will be earmarked for food delivery for low-income New Yorkers, cash assistance and social services for single parents and Holocaust survivors, and thousands of Passover meals to go.

The Claims Conference has established a Holocaust survivor COVID-19 emergency assistance fund, with $4.3 million in initial funds, to help address urgent needs worldwide during the coronavirus pandemic. It also announced it will be providing significant advances of nearly $300 million of the over $600 million in previously committed funds to agencies and relaxing reporting deadlines in an effort to mitigate any funding issues. The emergency fund, which includes $100,000 from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and €200,000 from the Alfred Landecker Foundation, will reinforce an array of services already in place, including delivering meals and medicine, assisting survivors with rent and utility payments, supporting short-term sheltering for Holocaust survivors, and expanding virtual/telephonic socialization programs and volunteer programs to help alleviate isolation and loneliness through secure methods. It also seeks to ensure that survivors can be cared for safely, by providing funding for personal protective equipment (such as masks, gowns, gloves, etc.) and sanitizing agents.

The Russell Berrie Foundation has approved $1.82 million in grants to serve organizations based primarily in Northern New Jersey including $235,000 granted to Jewish communal institutions. The grants primarily address medical and health care needs, food insecurity, and economic insecurity.

Resources

National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty Briefing: Focus on Higher Education

National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty Briefing: Focus on Higher Education

Date and time - Tuesday, August 4
12-1 pm ET

Source - JFN/Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty webinar
August 4

Back to Business: Guide for Reopening Jewish Institutions

Back to Business: Guide for Reopening Jewish Institutions

Source - Secure Community Network (Convened by Jewish Federations of North America & Conference of Presidents)
July

Planning Reopenings Amid Pandemic, Jewish Institutions Navigate Minefield of Challenges

Description - Article (Sponsored by JFNA)

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
August 3

Jewish Charities Fear Budget Cuts are Coming as New York State Slows Government Aid

Description - News Article

Source - The Forward
July 30

National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty: July/August Newsletter

National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty: July/August Newsletter

Source - JFN/Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty
July 21

Abe Foxman’s Next Act: Raising $28 Million to Feed Thousands of Struggling Holocaust Survivors

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
July 21

Briefings on Jewish Poverty & Covid-19 #5: Focus on the Intersection Between Government & Philanthropy

Briefings on Jewish Poverty & Covid-19 #5: Focus on the Intersection Between Government & Philanthropy

Source - JFN-Affinity Group Webinar
July 21

Some Nonprofits Hail Paycheck Protection Program as a ‘Savior’; Others See Layoffs Continue

Description - News Article

Source - Chronicle of Philanthropy
July 21

Jewish Environmental Organization Hazon Lays Off 35% of Staff Amid a Year of Canceled Retreats

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
July 17

A Time to Act: Concrete Steps to Support the Unemployed in the Jewish Community

Description - Op-Ed

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
July 17

1,000 Jewish Groups Received at Least $500 Million in Government Loans. Some Laid off Staff Anyway.

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
July 8

Briefings on Jewish Poverty and Covid-19: Focus on Jews of Color (Fourth in a Series)

Briefings on Jewish Poverty and Covid-19: Focus on Jews of Color (Fourth in a Series)

Source - JFN/Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty webinar
July 7

Jewish Nonprofits Launch Nationwide Volunteer Drive to Respond to Pandemic, Social-Justice Needs

Description - News Article

Source - Chronicle of Philanthropy
July 6

Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles Redirects All 2020 Institutional Grants to COVID-19 Response

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
July 1

Fidelity Donor-Advised-Fund Giving Soars, Especially for Food Assistance

Description - News Article

Source - Chronicle of Philanthropy
June 26

Covid Erased an Estimated 1.6 Million U.S. Nonprofit Jobs From March Through May

Description - News Article

Source - Chronicle of Philanthropy
June 26

We Must Support Our JCCs in These Troubled Times

Description - Editorial

Source - The Jewish News of Northern California
June 25

For Young Adults with Disabilities the Loss of Specialized Birthright Trips is Particularly Poignant

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
June 25

Service for a Strong Future

Service for a Strong Future

Date and time - Tuesday, June 23
1:30-2:30 p.m. Eastern

Source - JFN webinar
June 23

Funding with an Inclusion Mindset: A Strategic Conversation in the Wake of COVID-19

Funding with an Inclusion Mindset: A Strategic Conversation in the Wake of COVID-19

Source - JFN webinar
June 18

Boston Federation Lays off 25 Employees Amid Economic Crisis

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
June 11

UJA-Federation of New York Announces 54 Layoffs as CEO Forgoes Pay

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
June 10

Cash is King: Two Case Studies on the Power of Direct Financial Support During Crisis

Description - News Article

Source - Inside Philanthropy
June 10

Met Council Unveils New App to Report Domestic Abuse

Description - News Article

Source - New York Jewish Week
June 9

Briefings on Poverty & Covid-19: Third in a Series

Briefings on Poverty & Covid-19: Third in a Series

Source - JFN/National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty
June 9

Amid Pandemic, These Young Jews and their Elderly Friends Are Finding New Ways to Connect

Description - Article (Sponsored by JFNA)

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
June 8

Affordable Personal Protective Equipment for Jewish Organizations

Affordable Personal Protective Equipment for Jewish Organizations

Description - Online Store with Reduced Pricing

Source - JFNA and KAHAL
June 9

‘Peoplehood Coalition’ Connects Diaspora with COVID-19 Tech Solutions from Israel

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish News Service
June 9

These Services Are Helping Older Jews Master Technology and Stay Connected in Isolation

Description - Article (Sponsored by Jewish Federations of North America)

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
June 4

Include Us in the Conversation: COVID-19 and Teen Mental Health

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
June 4

San Francisco Bay Area’s Jewish Community and Philanthropic Response to COVID-19

San Francisco Bay Area’s Jewish Community and Philanthropic Response to COVID-19

Source - JFN webinar
May 26

A New Fund Is Providing Aid to Jews of Color Struggling Due to Coronavirus

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 27

Briefings on Poverty & Covid-19: Focus on Mental Health & Aging (2nd in a Series)

Briefings on Poverty & Covid-19: Focus on Mental Health & Aging (2nd in a Series)

Source - Nat'l Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty/JFN webinar
May 26

In Jewish Philanthropy, a Case Study in How a Crisis Can Expand Communal Giving

Description - Op-Ed

Source - Inside Philanthropy
May 18

Jewish Crowdfunding Sites Meet Their Moment, Raising Millions of Dollars for Coronavirus Victims

Description - News article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 18

May All Who are Hungry Come and Eat: Jewish Community Farming in the Face of Coronavirus

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
May 20

Why These 18 Israeli Donors Are Helping Get Protective Equipment to North American Jewish Social Service Providers

Why These 18 Israeli Donors Are Helping Get Protective Equipment to North American Jewish Social Service Providers

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
May 20

The Russell Berrie Foundation Announces $4.48 Million in Emergency Grants to Support COVID-19 Response Efforts in New Jersey and Israel

Description - Press release

Source - Russell Berrie Foundation
May 19

At Jewish Home, a Coronavirus Success Story

Description - News article

Source - Forward
May 14

Being a Fundraiser, but on the Front Lines

Description - Essay

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
May 15

Part 1 in a Series on Food Insecurity & Housing During Covid-19

Part 1 in a Series on Food Insecurity & Housing During Covid-19

Description - First in a series on poverty and the impact of Covid-19

Source - JFN webinar
May 14

Cutbacks at Social-Service Groups on the Rise, Poll Finds

Description - News article

Source - Chronicle of Philanthropy
May 11

Impact of Covid-19 on Jewish Human Service Agencies — and the Case for Giving

Description - Document

Source - Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies

National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty: How Members Are Responding to Covid-19

National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty: How Members Are Responding to Covid-19

Description - Newsletter

Source - National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty
May 12

For Jews Hit Hard by the Pandemic, a New Worry — Not Having Enough Food

Description - News article (Sponsored by JFNA)

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 11

Federations Tap Deep Experience and Networks to Respond to Pandemic-Era Needs

Description - News Article (JFNA-sponsored)

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency (Sponsored Content)
May 8

Returning to Basics

Description - Op-Ed

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
May 8

Push for Profits Left Nursing Homes Struggling to Provide Care

Description - News article

Source - The New York Times
May 7

Jewish End-of-Life Services Offered in Response to COVID-19

Jewish End-of-Life Services Offered in Response to COVID-19

Description - Guide/Update

Source - The David Berg Foundation
May 7

Deep Layoffs at Jewish Federations of North America

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 6

The Ruderman White Paper on Fair Resource Allocation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Ruderman White Paper on Fair Resource Allocation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Description - White paper

Source - Ruderman Family Foundation
April 2020

How the Coronavirus is Hitting Jewish Communities Worldwide

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 5

Jewish United Fund in Chicago Launches $26 Million Coronavirus Initiative

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 5

Sharansky to Use Genesis Prize Proceeds to Fight Coronavirus

Description - News Article

Source - Associated Press
May 4

Direct Service in the Age of Coronavirus

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
April 30

Emergency ‘Pledge to Protect’ Campaign for Personal Protective Equipment

Emergency ‘Pledge to Protect’ Campaign for Personal Protective Equipment

How US Jewish Groups Are Helping Overwhelmed Health Care Workers

Description - News Article (Sponsored)

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
April 23

$9 Million in Emergency Funding for Jewish Life Projects

Source - UJA-Federation of New York
April 23

Yom HaShoah Briefing and Commemoration: Holocaust Survivors During COVID-19

Yom HaShoah Briefing and Commemoration: Holocaust Survivors During COVID-19

Source - JFN
April 20

Guidelines for the Elderly, their Caregivers, and Families During COVID-19

Description - Videos/Materials

Source - JDC/Eshel

Video: Supporting Vulnerable Populations During COVID-19

Video: Supporting Vulnerable Populations During COVID-19

Description - JFN Webinar
March 30

Ordering Personal Protective Equipment for Jewish Healthcare Providers and Institutions

Description - Presentation

Source - JFN, the Jewish Federations of North America, and the North American Volunteer Network

Charitable Food Resource Guide During COVID-19

Description - Curated resources

Source - Mazon

Report from American Jewish Joint-Distribution Committee

Source - JDC
March 23

Coronavirus and the Jewish Community: Responses from the Field (First in an Ongoing Series)

Coronavirus and the Jewish Community: Responses from the Field (First in an Ongoing Series)

Description - JFN Webinar
March 18

Nonprofit Funding Proposals

Pandemic Support for Children with Disabilities

Description - Funding proposal

Source - Kayla Children's Centre (Toronto)

Virtual Therapeutic Interventions to Manage Mental Health and Well-Being

Description - Funding proposal

Source - Jewish Vocational Service of Metropolitan Toronto

Opening Doors in a COVID World

Description - Funding proposal

Source - DANI: Developing and Nurturing Independence (Toronto)

Emergency Food Packages for Needy Homebound Holocaust Survivors

Description - Funding proposal

Source - Met Council on Jewish Poverty (New York)

Helping Single Parents Survive Covid-19

Description - Funding proposal

Source - Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula (New York)

Teen Suicide Prevention Program

Description - Funding Proposal

Source - Rohr Jewish Learning Institute

If you have additional information about needs and responses, please contact us:

  Needs and Responses