NEW YORK (Dec. 10)
– Project Renewal, the Israel-diaspora partnership undertaking aimed at the rehabilitation of slum areas in Israel and the general improvement of the quality of life for their residents, has made dramatic progress since its start over a year ago, according to a report delivered here today.
The report was presented by Jane Sherman, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Project Renewal of the United Israel Appeal (UIA), at the UIA annual meeting at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The Ad Hoc Committee was created by the Board of Directors of the UIA on May 30, 1979 to study and make recommendations on all aspects of Project Renewal that are the responsibility of the UIA.
“The accelerated pace of Project Renewal dramatically demonstrated by three pieces of statistical information,” Sherman’s report said. “In August of 1979, approved allocations amounted to only $323,000; as of October 1980 it has risen to over $34,000,000; in August, 1979, allocations for only four neighborhoods had been approved; as of October 1980, allocation for 52 neighborhoods have been approved representing 534 separate projects,” Sherman reported.
“In addition, over $2,000,000 has been approved for national Project Renewal programs.”
MEETING SIX REQUIREMENTS
“These careful procedures, we hope, will provide local communities with confidence in the integrity of their ‘twinned’ neighborhood programs and will encourage the immediate transfer of local Project Renewal funds to the National UJA,” Sherman said.
The report noted in that connection that For varying reasons, some Federations have been holding up their cash collections.” It urged the trustees and community representatives to use your influence in assuring the prompt remittance of urgently needed funds. Otherwise, the UIA will be compelled, unnecessarily, to borrow at current high interest rates.”
The report specified certain matters of concern dealt with by the Ad Hoc Committee in the past year. These included “growing administrative expenses that the Jewish “Agency Renewal Department has been incurring for direct service to Project Renewal neighborhoods” that, in some instances, “led to cuts in other important Jewish Agency programs. At our meeting last month we formally adopted a motion to establish the principal of local community responsibility on an equitable formula basis for administrative expenses incurred in Israel in serving Project Renewal programs. We are now developing a fair share system.”
The report praised Yechiel Admoni, newly appointed director general of the Jewish Agency’s Renewal Department, for developing a comprehensive restructuring of the department’s overall operation which includes careful monitoring procedures.
A PLAN UNDER DISCUSSION
Sherman reported that the Committee has met several times with the Joint Distribution Committee staff to discuss their involvement in Project Renewal communities where they carry out programs of service to the elderly, develop professional manpower resources and community center programs. “We have also clarified technical questions regarding housing matters.”
Sherman reported that a plan now “in the discussion state” would merge the Project Renewal committees of the UIA and UJA respectively. “There is a significant overlapping of membership between our two committees,” the report noted.” The UJA sends us a continuous flow of information and Project Renewal Funds from local Federations. Beyond all this is ingoing informal communication between both laymen and professionals.”
The report warned that “the failure of Project Renewal could do irreparable harm not only to the critical needs of the neighborhoods but could be damaging to our care UJA campaigns as well.”
It added, however, “We believe that the UJA and the UIA together with our local communities working in full cooperation with Mr. Admoni and the Board of Governors Committee headed by Jerold Hoffberger, can guarantee the success of Project Renewal and thereby significantly narrow the gap in Israel between the haves and the have-nots.”
MEYERHOFF IS HONORED
Joseph Meyerhoff, a founding officer and life trustee of the UIA, received a scroll of honor from Jack Weiler, the noted Jewish community leader. Meyerhoff was honored “for his years of dedicated service and thoughtful leadership to his community, the development of Israel, and the advancement of the Jewish people.”