Updated July 9, 2020

How the Annual Campaign has Powered Our Community's Response

Without your generosity through the Annual Campaign, our Federation would not be in a position to respond to today’s crisis. But we can. As the saying goes, we were there on 9/11 because we were there on 9/10. We and our vital support organizations jumped into action—providing groceries, tele-counseling, job training, coordination and planning, and more.  


But the growing crisis requires an Emergency Campaign. If you would like to give to the Cincinnati Jewish community's COVID-19 Relief Fund, click hereThe Federation is designed to help us through this emergency. Federation’s job is to assess needs across the community, sharing information, and coordinating a response—enabling our agencies to provide essential support. This is what we do best.

The coronavirus crisis has produced four areas of need:


  1. Lack of groceries, meals, and other essential support for vulnerable community members
  2. Financial stress and job loss—more unemployed people means more need
  3. Greater mental stress/trauma—greater need for mental health/wellness
  4. Substantial, long-term economic difficulties for organizations

Here’s a sampling how you, as a donor, have helped so far:

1. Helping People Get Groceries, Meals, and Essential Supplies


  • Food pantry open: Jewish Family Service Heldman Family Food Pantry has modified for safety but is still fully operational, including safely providing 450 Passover meals to food-insecure families. Today they are serving 20 percent more households compared to January.


  • Taking care of seniors, survivors: Jewish Family Service continues to safely check on and care for our seniors, Holocaust survivors and Russian-speaking seniors. See Fox19's story.


  • Meals delivered: The Mayerson JCC 60 & Better Senior Center has delivered an additional 14-day emergency supply of meals to their Meals on Wheels recipients in case they are required to stop operations for any reason during this pandemic. So far, the JCC has been able to continue with their regular deliveries and even increased deliveries. In addition to an increase in Meals on Wheels recipients the JCC has also delivered 9 rounds of 14-day meals to many Congregate meal clients, who would typically come have a hot lunch in the Senior Center’s lunchroom or a Super Senior Meal Deal in the J Cafe. From 3/16 through 7/3 the Mayerson JCC has delivered over 26,144 meals compared to 14,911 delivered for the same time period last year—a 75 percent increase

2. Helping with Financial and Job Support 


  • JVS Career Services open: JVS Career Services is working remotely with 300 job-seekers, a 32% increase over last year. Job seeker services are currently free of charge to those who have been impacted by COVID-19. Since April 2, JVS Career Services has premiered 8 webinars that have reached over 1,100 people. It has also developed a page of resources to help job seekers during COVID-19 and a newsletter overing all types of job and career topics, along with a COVID-19 survival guide to help our community cope with the changing world.


  • Help with bills: Through the Federation-supported “Chaver” fund, Jewish Family Service has helped individuals pay their medical/pharmacy bills, rental payments, utilities, and other necessary bills. 

3. Helping Through Mental Health, Wellness Services; Lessen Isolation


  • Virtual help available: 

Jewish Family Service launched tele-counseling with 65 clients, including supporting many isolated older adults, allowing clients and staff to stay in their homes. With special crisis regulations changing daily, getting this done was a big lift.


Cincinnati Hillel helped many, including an isolated UC student and his girlfriend, to be able to celebrate Passover. Michael Evers brought them Haggadot for a Passover they hadn’t planned on having alone—before COVID-19.

"One of the most beautiful things about being a part of the Jewish community—and I think this time of crisis speaks to this—we support each other.’’ —Michael Evers, Director of Cincy Internships at Cincinnati Hillel

Jewish Family Service in partnership with PJ Library, the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center, and Rockwern Academy, launched Project Connect—sending letters and artwork made by local community members to help connect Holocaust survivors and other seniors at risk of isolation. 


  • Safety measures: 


Jewish Family Service delivered fabric masks to local Holocaust Survivors so they can stay as safe as possible.


JDC distributed over 4,500 health hygiene and activity kits to Israeli Arab and Bedouin families through volunteers, with materials about how to use them and how to practice social distancing.


Jewish Federations of North America provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to 90 Jewish nursing facilities and Jewish social service agencies.


Jewish Federation of Cincinnati supported the Halom House throughout a difficult COVID-19 two-week quarantine—helping with everything from options for supplemental staffing, to homemade meals, to handmade get-well cards from local children. Halom House provides services to adults with developmental disabilities.

“I am so grateful for how the Federation, JFS, and the Jewish community put their arms around us during the darkest moments of this crisis.” —Amy Fisher, Executive Director, Halom House


  • Going virtual:  Please send us Your Ideas to Connect—share your creative ideas for how we can stay connected and support each other.


Mayerson JCC is managing multiple Facebook Groups open to members and non members—currently there are over 1,200 individuals as part of the JCC virtual community.


Cincinnati Hillel is coordinating multiple virtual events, including weekly virtual gatherings, and a get-together honoring graduating seniors.


Jewish Family Service Russian Jewish Cultural Center is offering English classes online.


Jewish Federation of Cincinnati created digital resources—with nearly 20,000 page views from 3/16 to 7/3:


Virtual Passover Resources
COVID-19 Resource Hub 
Virtual Community Event Calendar

4. Helping with Organization's Long-term Economic Difficulties



​​Accelerated second quarter’s funding allocation to our partner agencies to use as needed. 

Supported 22 Jewish organizations with essential Shared Business Services so they could operate remotely. 

Advocated for state and federal relief for the Jewish community. We continue to advocate for additional relief. That advocacy includes exploring funds available from a newly established Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF), in coordination with the Jewish Federations of North America, which will provide more than $60 million in interest-free loans and $20 million in grants nationally to help maintain the infrastructure of Jewish life that advances Jewish education, engagement and leadership.


Convened our agency professionals and congregational rabbis weekly to share information and respond to immediate critical needs. 

Created the new SAFE Facilities Reopen Group with 45 participants representing every agency, school, and congregation. The core team went through thousands of pages of regulations and best practices from Governor DeWine, the CDC, and more, and reduced it all to a 20-page master resource.


Coached 22 agencies, schools and congregations on how to apply for government relief. These forgivable loans will enable organizations to make payroll till end of June; but they will not provide for increased needs, nor will they provide for operational expenses after June. 


We were able to secure 100 percent of the $4.6 million in funding our organizations applied for under the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program (PPP). 


Without this financial lifeline, many of our Jewish organizations would have been forced to implement layoffs or furloughs. This lifeline is temporary. “For these organizations, there is some temporary relief,” said Val Krueckeberg, SBS Managing Director. “Because of these funds, nearly five hundred and seventy jobs are more secure for the next two months.”