Using Data to Map Our Communities’ COVID-19 Needs

Franki Chamaki Unsplash

At the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, it’s our job to get your money to the people and organizations who need it most.

So nothing is more important to us than being in touch with the people we serve, whether that means picking up the phone and talking to them one-on-one or using complex data tools to get a big picture view.

When COVID-19 hit, we knew that many more people would find themselves in need, and that their needs would be increasingly complex. To respond to this, our Strategy and Impact team put out a Community Needs survey that more than 1,000 people answered. Individuals were invited to share how the pandemic had affected them personally, and organizations shared how COVID impacted their businesses and the services they provided to the community.

The end result is data that will guide our strategy and reveal areas of need that would have remained hidden. Check out our interesting stats.

Individual needs
When it comes to individuals and families, our evaluation team learned:

The three service needs cited most frequently were virtual community programming (29%), mental health (21%) and job loss/employment services (18%).

Households with children are more likely to have decreased participation in Jewish engagement activities.

37% of households indicate decreased participation in volunteer activities, and 27% indicated decreased participation in Shabbat or holiday programming.

Adult education during COVID-19 saw a higher level of both decreased and increased participation as compared to youth education.

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Organizational needs
When it comes to local organizations, our evaluation team learned:

84% of organizations reported some degree of revenue loss, and 16% had to furlough or lay off staff.

The most-cited services reported by organizations as requested by their clients include: virtual community programming (65%), virtual Jewish education (39%), food services (35%), financial assistance (33%) and child care (31%).

Half of social service organizations reported an increase in service requests, and Jewish life and learning organizations were more likely to see a decrease in demand.

Jewish life and learning organizations, such as camps and day schools, reported a harder time meeting new service needs (56%) than community engagement and social responsibility organizations (25%).


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