The Jewish Federation Real Estate affinity group (JFRE), which brings together the Philadelphia real estate community for volunteer opportunities, fundraising, education and networking, yet again shattered expectations for this past fundraising year.
Since JFRE’s founding in 2008, the group has contributed $2.2 million to charitable causes.
But this past year has truly been a banner one: Following a record-breaking fundraising result, JFRE granted a record amount of money ($556,400) to fund 19 charitable projects for its highest number of projects in its history.
“We are very pleased with the growing impact of JFRE on the Jewish community,” said Jeremy Fogel, a JFRE executive committee member and the co-chair of the grants committee. “This year represents our largest fundraising success, which has allowed us to make our largest amount of total investments into the community, both locally and in Israel. We focused our investments in infrastructure that supports Jewish schools, camps and residences and anticipate that the positive impact on the community will be significant and long-lasting.”
The JFRE Fund significantly contributes toward tangible and enduring capital needs aligned with the Jewish Federation’s priorities, and grants are awarded to capital projects in the Greater Philadelphia area, including Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and in Israel and overseas.
The 19 critical projects that received JFRE grants during the past year’s cycle represent a wide range of projects which support everything from children with disabilities in Israel and Holocaust survivors in Northeast Philadelphia. Highlights of this year’s grantees include:
- Camp Ramah in the Poconos. The JFRE grant will create a new double camper bunk, which will allow the camp to clear its waitlist and increase future capacity so more children and young adults will get to experience a warm, nurturing, fun and inclusive summer environment.
- Amigour-Shimshon-Granit Sheltered Home in Be’er Sheva. This grant will support the construction of 112 new sustainable and affordable housing units for older adults in Israel. In addition to the apartment units, a social hall will be built for events, lessons and gatherings, made available to all residents and community volunteers.
- JEVS Human Services. The grant will provide for renovations to Tikvah Residence, a home which specially serves individuals with a disability caused by serious, chronic mental illness and helps to ease the burdens of everyday life and to improve the quality of their Jewish community experience. Renovations will include upgrading stoves and appliances, installing new flooring, installing grab bars, new lighting and the installation of new toilets and vanities.
- BINA: The Jewish Movement for Social Change. Over the past years, BINA has established itself as one of the most sought-after educational provider for IDF units, which often seek off-IDF-base spaces for programming. The JFRE grant will support a full renovation of the ground floor of their Main Building in Tel Aviv, which will serve as a library, study space and much-needed classrooms.
- Jewish Farm School. Jewish Farm School in West Philadelphia works to increase the local Jewish community’s capacity to live more sustainably, support the work of local farms and food justice organizations and connect these efforts to Jewish traditions, values and the cycles of the Hebrew calendar. The JFRE grant will support the newly built 707 Center for Cultural Resilience, which serves as shared office and programming space for the school and several other Jewish and social justice organizations. The first-floor storefront will be home to sustainability skills workshops, classes and event, as well as a community library and beit midrash.
- Wolfson Community Center. The JFRE grant will provide for the addition of a park with a picnic area that will connect the existing city of Netivot, located in the Jewish Federation’s partnership region, to its future neighborhoods in the west. The park will be a tool for facilitating integration, as well as a place for educational and social programs, events and recreation.
- The Chevra. The Chevra’s facility, located in Center City Philadelphia, is a unique 12,000-square-foot facility that is a hub of Jewish communal life for young Jewish professionals and graduate students. The grant will provide for critical upgrades based on the recommendations of security consultants, which include upgrading the entry system into the building and interior access controls.
- Habonim Dror Camp Galil. The grant will provide for an energy retrofit of the camp’s dining hall, with critical renovations to the wiring and lighting in the communal space and the kitchen. Located in Ottsville, Pa., the facility hosts a summer camp from June through August and retreats throughout the fall and spring. The money saved by these improvements will be reinvested into the camp programs and facility.
Following another successful year, JFRE is at work to ensure next year’s selected grantees will enjoy even more funding. As Fogel noted, “We look forward to next year where we will work to raise the bar again.”
For more information on JFRE, visit jewishphilly.org/JFRE or contact Rachel Sigman, senior development officer, at email@example.com.
For information on grants and to learn how to submit an application, contact the Jewish Federation’s Grants & Evaluation Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.