As increasing numbers of people face financial setbacks, the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford is excited to take a giant step to foster financial stability in our community, with the establishment and launch this coming week of the Jewish Free Loan Fund of Greater Hartford. The Jewish Free Loan Fund provides a hand up — not a handout — to community members in need.
The fund will make interest-free loans available to overcome financial hurdles and seize new opportunities with dignity and confidentiality. This new initiative, which originated from the Jewish Hartford Rapid Relief and Recovery Fund, is also an example of our commitment to leverage innovative, pandemic-inspired solutions for lasting change. The Jewish Free Loan Fund will have a transformational impact today, and it will endure in perpetuity to meet the needs of future generations.
It’s fitting that we are launching the fund next week, for this coming Tuesday marks the 52nd yahrzeit of Beatrice Fox Auerbach, who stewarded G. Fox and Company to become the largest department store in New England. She is remembered as a labor reformer, civil rights activist, and philanthropist who had an enduring and indelible impact on our region. Among her many innovations was the creation of a special account to ensure that G. Fox employees with debts could borrow company funds without interest – which might very well have been the region’s first free loan fund!
In the inspiring philanthropic tradition of Beatrice Fox Auerbach, generous donors have stepped up to provide initial seed capital of $230,000 for the new Jewish Free Loan Fund, including Ann and Jeremy Pava, Rona Gollob, Barbara and Alan Rosenberg, Gayle and Steve Temkin, Judy and Ron Schlossberg, and Nancy and Jay Gershman.
Ann Pava, Chair of the Jewish Free Loan Committee, beautifully summed up the fund's importance and its impact for our community: “We have an obligation to ensure a strong social safety net for everyone in our community and to maintain the utmost dignity of those in need. As Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbinic sages in history, taught, ‘A loan is better than charity because it helps one to help oneself.’ A Jewish free loan program in our community does just that.” Click here to learn more about the Jewish Free Loan Fund.