Federation announces new grants to help ensure care for the vulnerable

By Kevin Barwin, Grants and Evaluation Committee, Jewish Federation of Ottawa

‘No one left behind” is one of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s new strategic goals. Our vision is a community where everyone is welcome and has access to Jewish life. Now, with the approval of grants from the Fund to Ensure Care for the Vulnerable, Federation will be supporting seven new and innovative programs that will serve our most at-risk community members, to help reach that goal.

The Fund to Ensure Care for the Vulnerable will invest $240,000 in these seven programs over the next three years. The objective of these one-time grants, each spread over three years, is to assist local Jewish organizations to care for the vulnerable and/or to help prevent future vulnerability. The maximum value of each grant is $50,000. The Grants and Evaluation Committee reviewed many proposals and considered how each new project could have long-term positive impacts and whether the projects were meeting an unmet community need, amongst other criteria.

The approved grants include a proposal from the Ottawa Kosher Food Bank to offer a “Cook and Carry” program that will support clients with cooking classes and special kitchen items. The classes will reduce social isolation and improve healthy eating and cooking skills.

A partnership of Tamir, Jewish Family Services of Ottawa (JFS), JOIN-Jewish Ottawa Inclusion Network and Federation will fund a part-time community inclusion coordinator to help the Jewish community and local Jewish organizations make their programs and facilities more welcoming to people with special needs. AJA 50+ also received additional funding to support Creative Connections, a popular day program for cognitively-well seniors that provides interesting activities and lunch to a growing demographic in our community.

Jewish Family Services was granted funds for two programs. Moadon – which is Hebrew for meeting place – will provide a drop-in space at the JFS offices for regular clients where they will have access to computers, snacks, activities and more. The JFS Care for the Caregiver program is designed to improve how Jewish Ottawa supports care for seniors, by understanding and providing education and support to family caregivers. This program will work in synergy with another program at Hillel Lodge. The Hillel Lodge Frail Elderly Support day program is a two-year project that will provide respite and care for seniors through physically, emotionally, and cognitively stimulating activities in a positive Jewish environment.

Hillel Lodge, together with community volunteers Helen and Mayer Alvo, also received a grant to launch Café Menorah, a volunteer-led program that will provide a kosher hot meal and an opportunity for those in need to socialize and make Jewish connections. The program is inspired by Montreal’s Le Café program.

We are fortunate in our community that the 2019 Annual Campaign exceeded its targets, which has enabled innovative, critical investment in our community. Through the work of Federation’s Stra-tegic Funding Task Force, several new funds were created to help address specific community needs. So far this year, the Grants and Evaluation Committee has reviewed and approved grants for day school programs, supplementary school programs, and security matching grants (dependent on government and Security Infrastructure Program grants).

The final strategic funding grants to roll out will be the Jewish Journeys grants to be awarded for programs that enable Ottawa Jewish organizations to reach more people in our community and help them take the next step in their Jewish journey. Applications for these grants close on April 20. For more information, contact Federation Director of Community Collaboration Kara Goodwin at kgoodwin@jewishottawa.com or 613-798-4616, ext. 200.