Back in February, JFGO's Board of Directors decided to set aside approximately $50,000 for community collaborative grants to be awarded this year. The board felt strongly that it was important to build on the success of the previous two rounds of grants. As previously, the goal was twofold: to encourage and promote collaboration in the Jewish community and to support programs and services that enrich Jewish life in Orlando.
I was again very happy to work with the outstanding Grants Committee, ably co-chaired by Dr. Maxine Silverman Rosenthal and Maura Weiner. The committee completed a thorough and objective review of the requests received by the Federation and was pleased with the quality of the proposals.
The committee recently made its recommendations and presented them to the board, which gave its enthusiastic approval. A total of $52,200 in community collaborative grants was awarded to Jewish organizations and synagogues.
The Federation awarded grants to Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando for some key services for the elderly: holiday meal delivery, transportation to medical and other appointments, and the Chaplaincy program. Also known as the Community Rabbi Program, the Chaplaincy program has been a collaborative effort between JFS Orlando and Hospice of the Comforter for many years. In addition to providing hospice services, Rabbi Arnie Siegel is a source of pastoral support to unaffiliated and needy community members.
This year we were especially pleased to award grants for three community-wide events:
- A community-wide Shabbat retreat at a local campsite, a collaborative effort between Federation's JTEN program and educational and youth directors from Congregation Ohev Shalom, Congregation of Reform Judaism, Temple Israel, Congregation Beth Am, Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation, Temple Shir Shalom and the local chapter of BBYO.
- In November, several synagogue men's clubs will present Men's Night Out, an evening of food, fun and brotherhood in support of Jewish youth programs.
- The Rosen JCC and The Roth Family JCC were awarded a grant for bringing the community together to celebrate Israel's 70th birthday next spring.
The Jewish Pavilion was awarded a grant toward an intergenerational program, "From Generation to Generation," which brings together seniors with students from the Jewish Academy of Orlando, synagogue religious schools and youth groups for one-on-one and group intergenerational experiences.
With the help of a Federation grant, Temple Israel and Temple Shir Shalom will bring together middle- and high-school students for social interactions and to build a better understanding of Jewish diversity in our community.
And last but not least, the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center received a grant toward Orlando's first production of Brundibar, a children's opera written in 1938 by Hans Krasa. This production, an HMREC collaboration with Opera Orlando and Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra, will be performed at the Rosen JCC in commemoration of Kristallnacht this fall.
Congratulations to all the grant recipients!
As we all know, it's much more pleasant to distribute the money than to raise it, but I always stress that the Federation is able to provide these grants only because of the generosity of you, our supporters. I spend a lot of my time fundraising, but it is very rewarding work because I know that with your help, the Federation can accomplish much. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping us to fulfill our mission.