Jewish Federation Donors Give $26 Million to Benefit Human Services, Community Programs and Planning

Donors giving through the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will provide more than $26 million in allocations and grants to human services and community-building programs in 2017–18. The allocations, announced by the Federation’s Board of Directors, will support programs in Pittsburgh and in Jewish communities around the world.

The Federation raised funds for the allocations through its Annual Campaign — which reached a record-breaking $13.7 million — as well as through the Jewish Community Foundation, supplemental donor gifts, government funds secured with Jewish Federation assistance, and a $900,000 human services block grant from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation.

“Federation continues to grow in the Annual Campaign while being more strategic about leveraging this private giving to get additional corporate, foundation and government funds,” explained Cynthia Shapira, chair of the Federation’s Board of Directors. “The combined impact more than doubles the allocations for Pittsburgh, Israel and world Jewry.”

Funding decisions are the result of a year-long planning process that engages volunteers and professionals with diverse expertise, backgrounds and affiliations. The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh focuses on its ability to multiply the impact of private giving by leveraging corporate and government dollars. The goal of this process is to identify the most pressing needs for today and the future.

“Over the last couple of years, we have begun the process of doing a deep dive into the needs of our community to determine where attention and assets need to flow,” said Scott Tobe, Chair of the Federation’s Planning and Allocations Committee.

Tobe explained that the planning process has expanded beyond identifying needs. “We are also trying to emphasize the Federation’s role in solving complex problems that require broad community support,” Tobe said. “We continue to strive to understand what the community needs, but we also need to be able to respond to those needs by bringing people together.”

A large portion of Federation allocations in 2017–18 will address aging and human needs in Pittsburgh. In addition to aiding some of Pittsburgh’s most vulnerable, in 2017–18 the Jewish Federation will continue to invest substantial dollars to address Jewish continuity by providing allocations to support Israel travel, Jewish preschool and overnight Jewish camping.

The 2017–18 allocations included significant grants, from the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation, earmarked for young adult initiatives, including One Table and Honeymoon Israel. One Table aims to help young adults host Shabbat dinner and enjoy Jewish experiences together, capitalizing on the trend toward self-organized Jewish activities among Jews ages 20 to 40. With support from the Jewish Community Foundation, One Table will sponsor Shabbat dinners in more homes and will help young Jews meet one another.

Similarly, the hope for Honeymoon Israel — funded locally by a grant from the Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future — is to help young adults connect to their heritage and solidify their Jewish identity. The program provides immersive trips to Israel for small groups of Pittsburgh-based couples that have at least one Jewish partner — couples who are still finding their place in the Jewish community. The goal of Honeymoon Israel is to reach these young adults early in their relationships, creating meaningful connections to Jewish life and the Jewish people for a diverse range of Jewish families, including interfaith couples.

Jeffrey Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, explained the significance of supporting Pittsburgh’s Jewish young adults. “These programs, and those like them, aim to maximize the number of Jewish Pittsburghers engaged in meaningful Jewish experiences,” he said. “Younger adults are under-represented in communal leadership, and we hope that focusing on providing services and programs for this age bracket will encourage more participation in the future.”

Other new and increased disbursements from the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation include, for example, a grant to help facilitate discussions among synagogues about the potential to share space; a grant to the Jewish Association on Aging, to expand the Memory Care Support Network; a grant to the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh and Emma Kaufmann Camp, to enhance Jewish programming; and a grant to the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, to enable creation of a new teacher resource guide.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s nine local beneficiary agencies are

  • The Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center
  • Community Day School
  • Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
  • Jewish Association on Aging
  • Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Jewish Family & Children’s Service
  • Jewish Residential Services
  • Riverview Towers
  • Yeshiva Schools

The two overseas affiliates are the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

More information about Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh allocations and grant making is available from Adam Hertzman, director of marketing, at 412-992-5225 or

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