Seven Jewish foundations joined together to announce on Monday the launch of the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF), which will provide more than $80 million in interest-free loans and grants as thousands of Jewish nonprofit organizations are experiencing unprecedented needs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The challenges have affected every sector of Jewish communal life, including organizational closures, staff layoffs, canceled programs, a pivot to online education, an anticipated increase in financial-aid needs, a decrease in fundraising and and 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,” 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.
“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,” they said.
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 three to six 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. Shira Hutt, JFNA Chief of Staff and an experienced nonprofit and philanthropic professional, is serving as JFNA’s liaison to the program. 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 seeks to provide an efficient, simplified and accelerated application and reporting system for both applicants and grant recipients. It will supplement each foundation’s current grantmaking to Jewish organizations.
To create an efficient process that ensures quick turnaround and deployment of resources, both programs will proactively source funding opportunities rather than accept unsolicited proposals. The fund welcomes additional investors.