Jewish Federation Raises Record Amount to Benefit Human Services, Community Programs and Planning

Donors to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will provide almost $28 million in allocations and grants to human services and community-building programs in 2018–19. The allocations, announced by the Federation’s Board of Directors, will support programs in Pittsburgh and in Jewish communities around the world.

The Jewish Federation raised funds for the allocations through its Community Campaign 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. Allocation decisions are the result of a year-long planning process that engages volunteers and professionals with diverse expertise, backgrounds and affiliations. The goal of this process is to identify the most pressing needs for today and the future.

“As the needs in the community change year to year,” explained Meryl Ainsman, chair of the Jewish Federation’s Board of Directors, “so do giving trends. By leveraging corporate, foundation and government dollars, the Jewish Federation is able to keep up with those changing needs and help here in Pittsburgh, in Israel and in communities around the world.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh multiplies the impact of private giving by leveraging corporate and government dollars through programs such as Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. In 2017–18, corporate giving to the Pittsburgh Federation reached a record high. EITC participation, combined with growth of the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation assets and additional resources, will allow the Jewish Federation to provide more support to the community than ever before. Although the Community Campaign total is projected to fall approximately $200,000 short of last year’s total, the combined resources that the Jewish Federation will allocate is projected to exceed last year’s $26.3 million by over $1.6 million, because of increases in both EITC participation and supplemental giving.

A large portion of the Federation’s Campaign allocations in 2018–19 will address aging and human needs in Pittsburgh. Though most of the Federation’s beneficiary agencies will receive a 2% cut, organizations that address health and human services will not lose any funding. Also, due to record giving through the EITC program, Jewish educators, day schools and pre-K programs throughout Greater Pittsburgh will see an increase in funding.

To maintain focus on the local community’s needs, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will decrease its allocation to international partner agencies Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Traditionally, the Pittsburgh Federation’s allocations to these agencies have been higher than the average allocated by Federations nationwide. The 5% cut that both JAFI and JDC will receive this year will result in an allocation that is closer to the national average.

Results from the 2017 Jewish Community Study, which was funded by the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation, were released this past February.

Jeffrey Finkelstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, explained, “The 2017 Jewish Community Study is part of a much larger effort to take a hard look at the way we do things here in Pittsburgh.”

The study revealed that that Jewish Pittsburgh now comprises nearly 27,000 households that include more than 49,000 Jewish individuals and almost 10,000 non-Jewish individuals. As a result, Mr. Finkelstein reported, the Jewish Federation will continue to invest substantial dollars to address Jewish engagement by providing allocations to support Israel travel, Jewish preschool and overnight Jewish camping. “We hope to continue our efforts to provide services and programs for those outside our core community, encouraging more Jewish participation in the future.”

Last year’s allocations promoted the growth of new projects earmarked for young adult initiatives, including OneTable and Honeymoon Israel. Both have been highly successful in engaging young adults. The coming year will include fewer new projects, but the Jewish Federation will continue to fund existing successful initiatives as it continues to revise its own organizational structure, to ensure efficiency and align with the community going forward, as well as the way the beneficiary agencies function.

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 and Community Services
  • Jewish Residential Services
  • Riverview Towers
  • Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh

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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