NEW YORK (Jan. 27)
An unprecedented $44 million was voted Monday by the Board of Trustees of Federation of Jewish Philanthropies for the regular annual allocation to the organization’s 130 member agencies for the 1983-84 fiscal year, beginning July 1.
The agency network encompasses hospitals and medical centers, family service and child care, vocational and rehabilitation services, care of the aged, community centers, resident and day camping, and Jewish education. This amount, reflecting an increase of $5.1 million over the previous year’s allocations, includes $1.6 million to be allotted from emergency reserves.
In an action earlier this month emergency grants for the current fiscal year totalling half a million dollars were approved by Federation, with priority for direct financial assistance to the neediest individuals by the agency network.
The grants will help primarily those who have become unemployed this year or are at risk in getting or keeping jobs because of personal circumstances, such as needing someone to look after a young child or an elderly parent. Priority consideration will also be given to those whose government entitlements have been reduced or eliminated within the past year.
“The amount voted on Monday by the Board is a response to the projected exceptional needs of the agencies in meeting increased demand for services by people hard hit in the current recession,” said Mrs. Laurence Tisch, Federation president. “The extraordinary action by the Board in voting this largest level of grants in Federation’s history reflects a commitment to assure that the agencies maintain their essential quality services to the people of the city.” The Federation network annually serves almost two million New Yorkers in the five boroughs, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk.
“Our purpose in making these commitments,” said William Kahn, executive vice president, “is particularly to aid those who are suffering severe hardship from the general softness of the economy and cutbacks to human services at all levels of government.”
AREAS OF URGENT NEED
Areas of urgent need identified by Federation and its agencies include employment and guidance; interest-free college student loans; scholarships for day and nursery school children or working parents; increased availability of short-term funds for individual and family crises; subsidies to assure access to essential agency services for people deprived of income or benefits.
Factors accelerating these needs and which influenced Federation’s unusual actions include the rising rate of unemployment, which severely affects heads of household; mass discharge of professionals and middle management employees as a result of cuts in the public and private sectors; cuts in entitlement programs affecting large numbers of low-income New Yorkers; the border- line status of small business merchants endeavoring to avoid bankruptcy; and the prospect of mortgage foreclosure facing homeowners.
Among the major categories of help targeted for immediate emergency grants are: employment aid, direct financial aid, interest-free loans for students, and assistance to needy individuals and families for Passover observance. Other amounts have been committed to meet additional urgent needs of individuals at risk, including programs of advocacy for public entitlements to those who qualify and have either failed to apply or have been deprived of benefits because of cutbacks.