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Community Grants Continue to Impact Jewish New Haven | 03-Mar-2016

Jewish Foundation and Federation Community Grants that Support and Strengthen Our Community

The Jewish Foundation and the Jewish Federation support our community through the Community Grants Initiative to local Jewish New Haven organizations. These funds help local Jewish synagogues and organizations address aging infrastructure, provide safety and educational programs, undertake capital projects, and assist those in need. We followed up with a few recent grant recipients Temple Emanuel, Tower One/Tower East and Beth Israel Wallingford – to see how these funds helped each community.

Temple Emanuel in Orange, CT, completed their ambitious One Campus building project in August 2015.  Before One Campus, Temple Emanuel was housed in two buildings – one was almost 100 years old and could no longer be appropriately renovated. The project added a new education and administrative wing to the newer building and brought all of Temple Emanuel under one roof. Dr. Alan Kliger, principal fundraiser for the One Campus project explains how the $75,000 grant helped launch fundraising efforts. “The grant provided a wonderful beginning and a place where I could go out and talk to families in our synagogue and major donors,” he says. ”With effective fundraising, you can’t start from zero, you can’t start from 20%, you really have to start telling people you are more than halfway to the goal. It was the initial grant that allowed that fundraising ball to get rolling.“ Board member Rise Siegel agrees, “The grant was the catalyst that launched the rocket ship of the One Campus project and it really took off.  Almost 100% of the congregation donated to the project.” The response to One Campus has been remarkable. “This community has always been very strong,” she says. “I knew people were excited about the building but I didn’t expect this kind of jubilation. The warmth and sense of joy is almost palpable.”

Tower One/Tower East, a senior living facility in New Haven, CT, introduced a fall prevention series for their residents entitled Safe Stance. This unique, all-inclusive approach to fall prevention is based on a program designed and published by the Center for Disease Control.  “The Towers is a community where older adults can live safe, healthy and independent lives, “ explains Mark Garilli, President & CEO of Tower One/ Tower East. “As our residents age in place we recognize a need for more programing focused on health and wellness. Over the past few years we have established a wonderful menu of health related programs but because falls can significantly impact a residents ability to remain self-sufficient, we felt the most pressing place to start was with a prevention series.” Safe Stance launched in Spring 2015 and is scheduled to continue for three years. The residents love it, and their families do too. “What we didn’t expect were the number of family members participating as well,” he says. “It’s nice to see the support from friends and family. The response has been tremendous and reports back are proving to be successful in increasing awareness and preventing falls!” In addition, the series not only provided educational programs within the Towers’ community but has also been hosted at synagogues throughout greater new haven.

Beth Israel Synagogue in Wallingford, CT, utilized their grant to give their entrance and grounds a much-needed facelift. ”The grounds definitely needed attention,” explains President Alida Cella.“The gardens had gotten very overgrown and we had a large rocky and uneven lot we wanted to use for gatherings, but it needed to be cleared and leveled. We also have a very large decorative front window in our entrance which needed to be maintained, painted and sealed.” With the funds they were able to level the lot, spruce up the gardens and restore the large entrance window.  The results were beautiful. “It came out really nice,” she says. “Our families are very happy with these improvements.”

In addition to required reporting, all grantees were required to raise matching funds in order to receive grant payments.  Grantees included: Congregation BEKI for new windows; Temple Beth Sholom for a partial roof replacement; Congregation Mishkan Israel for its parking lot; Ezra Academy and Congregation B’nai Jacob for a new roof; Jewish Family Service for an expansion of its food pantry, including social services for participants; Temple Emanuel to create a new synagogue campus; Westville synagogue for replacement of its ac system; Southern CT Hebrew Academy for a new parking lot; Beth Israel, Wallingford for a new garden and restoration of its entry window; Camp Laurelwood for winterization of its recreation hall; Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek for a community care coordinator; Congregation Or Shalom for capital improvements.  In addition, grant awards included the Towers Foundation for its fall prevention program; Orchard Street Shul for an elevator; Temple Beth David for restoration of its sanctuary; Jewish Historical Society for its “museum in the streets” program; Congregation Mishkan Israel for its parking lot; Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont to expand its kosher kitchen; and Temple Beth Tikvah for its driveway and parking lot.

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