Seven Jewish foundations have joined together to announce the launch of the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF), which will provide more than $80 million in interest-free loans and grants to help maintain the infrastructure of Jewish life that advances Jewish education, engagement and leadership.
The launch of JCRIF, in coordination with The Jewish Federations of North America, comes as thousands of Jewish nonprofit organizations are experiencing unprecedented needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges span every sector of Jewish communal life. Organizations have had to close their doors, lay off staff, cancel programs, pivot to online education, anticipate an increase in financial aid needs and a decrease in fundraising, and face a host of other operational interruptions.
“We recognize the dire health and economic needs that the pandemic has created and applaud the heroic efforts by so many to address them. We have also seen firsthand the acute challenges Jewish organizations across the country are facing. While this fund alone cannot address all of those challenges, we believe that investing together in these vital pillars of Jewish life will help ensure a stronger future for American Jewry in the months and years to come,” said JCRIF’s funders, which include the Aviv Foundation, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, the Jim Joseph Foundation, Maimonides Fund, the Paul E. Singer Foundation, and the Wilf Family Foundation.
JCRIF includes two components: a loan program and an aligned grant program. The loan program will provide short-term unsecured loans to alleviate cash flow challenges and to enable organizations to maintain services and/or make payroll in the coming 3-6 months. The loan program will be based at the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), which will act as the loan fund administrator and lender of record. It will also partner with the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), which will source and recommend loan applications. JFNA will work with key national Jewish networks, including members of the National Emergency Coalition, as well as independent Jewish nonprofits, to source loan applicants.
The aligned grant program will provide a combination of emergency funding for immediate needs and strategic funding to address organizational and sector-wide shifts catalyzed by the crisis. The program will provide an efficient, simplified and accelerated application and reporting system for applicants and grant recipients. The grant program will be directed by Felicia Herman, an experienced Jewish philanthropic leader, who will be temporarily seconded from her role as Executive Director of The Natan Fund. The grants will supplement each foundation’s current grantmaking to Jewish organizations.
To create an efficient process that respects the time of applicants and ensures quick turnaround and deployment of resources, both programs will proactively source funding opportunities rather than accept unsolicited proposals.
The fund welcomes additional investors into either or both funding programs.
Details on the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund can be found here: https://ejewishphilanthropy.com/jewish-community-response-and-impact-fundoverview-of-loan-and-grant-programs-akathe-details/.