Dear Friend,

During unprecedented times like these, when our community is suffering so intensely, we have no ready map to guide our path. Instead, we rely upon our core values and the skills we’ve honed of responding creatively to crisis situations.

At JF&CS, our work is based on Jewish values of social responsibility, compassion, and respect for all members of the community. We support those who are vulnerable, struggling, or marginalized in our society, as we honor the dignity of every individual.

Today, these values guide us as we respond to the critical needs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic while also grappling with racial injustice, which is both abhorrent and pervasive. 

Since March, JF&CS has responded to the urgency of this crisis, supporting clients who are isolated, struggling financially, and medically at risk.

We have more than doubled the number of people we serve in our Center for Basic Needs Assistance —providing emergency groceries, financial support, and help accessing public benefits. JF&CS is offering 20 weekly support groups via Zoom for clients facing a range of challenges; 5 hours of daily virtual programming specifically for our clients with disabilities; and specialized programs for those dealing with bereavement, trauma, abuse, and more. Our community looks to JF&CS as a safety net for their financial and emotional needs, and I am proud that we have responded without interruption.
JF&CS also joins in the collective pain of our country as we grapple with the senseless loss of life and pervasive racism around us. Last week, JF&CS signed a letter with CJP and other Jewish organizations calling for racial justice. These are, indeed, turbulent times, and I promise you that the JF&CS management team and the entire agency are committed to learning, to responding, and to serving.

On March 25, we launched our Caring During Crisis campaign, and I want to thank the close to 1,000 donors who gave more than $1 million to ensure that we could support our community. And while this sounds like a large sum of money, the need for food, rent, and emotional support is rising every day and will continue long into the future. Government funding is being cut back dramatically in July with the new state budget, further exacerbating our revenue losses during this pandemic. The combination of these enormous losses with the increase in need is staggering, but your generosity has and will continue to sustain our community and our organization.

I know that you will be inspired by the stories you will read in this issue of Impacting Lives . I thank you for caring during this crisis and joining with our community in supporting the needs of those most impacted. I wish you and your family good health and pray for healing and justice in our world.


Gail Schulman
Chief Executive Officer
A Message from Our Chief Advancement Officer
When we rebranded our Annual Report, Impacting Lives, last year, we imagined a report to our investors, recognizing our community of supporters, sharing our financials, and reflecting on the impact of our work in the prior year.

This year, Impacting Lives will share the story of our work on the frontlines, supporting our community during the COVID-19 crisis and in creating a more just and equal society. And while we will report on our Fiscal Year 19 (October 1, 2018 - September 30, 2019), we will also share how we are supporting our community in the moment.

Taking Care of Our Community: Food, Shelter, and Support 
“So many people already live paycheck to paycheck,” said Meredith Joy, the Director of the JF&CS Center for Basic Needs Assistance. “When the public health crisis began, we saw hundreds of families go from relative stability to all-out emergency.”

JF&CS has long been a safety net for the Jewish community and people of all backgrounds facing economic insecurity. During the pandemic, however, our agency has seen unprecedented levels of need. Requests for food, emergency financial assistance, and help applying for public benefits have skyrocketed in recent months.

JF&CS Staff Recognized for Leadership and Expertise 
As JF&CS confronts the public health crisis, our staff continues to adapt, lead, and share their expertise both locally and nationally. Congratulations to the staff recognized below, and thank you to all of our staff for their tireless efforts to make an impact in our community and beyond.

JF&CS is Fostering Resilience During the Toughest Times
Life during a pandemic is truly uncharted territory. This period of upheaval and uncertainly has taken a tremendous toll on mental health — causing widespread feelings of isolation, anxiety, and despair. At JF&CS, our programs have adapted to meet the current social-emotional needs of our clients while helping them build skills of resilience and strategies for persevering during these difficult days.

Free Parent Coaching: A Resource for Families   
When schools closed due to the public health crisis this spring, many parents were left feeling stressed and overwhelmed. For parents of children with disabilities, however, the closure of schools was especially devastating. “Predictable structure is vitally important for children with disabilities,” explained Sara Freedman, the Director of JF&CS CHAI Services. “Without their daily routines, children with disabilities are feeling bored, they are feeling isolated, and they may start acting out.”

Inspiring Philanthropy as a Family
Eight years ago, Lori and Jon Shaer were looking for an opportunity that would enable them and their young children to engage in hands-on philanthropy. When they learned about the JF&CS Family Table food pantry, they found the perfect outlet for volunteering. “We wanted to directly impact people with our children and show them how important it is to give back,” said Lori.

Tree of Life Society: Andrew Pearlstein
We sat down with Andrew Pearlstein, President of the JF&CS Board of Directors, to talk about what it means to leave a legacy with JF&CS. Watch our interview with Andrew below.

Sibshops Shares a Message to Our World
The JF&CS Sibshops group for children who have a sibling with special needs has been meeting weekly via Zoom. On June 3, instead of their normal games and discussions, the kids talked about racism, our nation’s history, and what’s going on in the world right now. The Sibs put together a collective Message to Our World, which we are proud to share.
Donor Listing & Financial Report 2018 − 2019
It is with deep gratitude that we recognize our good friends in the community who have contributed $500 or more to Jewish Family & Children’s Service between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019, our Fiscal Year 2019. These contributions, along with those of all of our supporters, provide critical funds that enable our agency to provide the greatest breadth of social services under one roof throughout New England and to be a source of support to the thousands of people we serve each year.

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