60 Days of Impact: Agency Partnering for Measurable Change

My name is Amy Nisenson and I have been in Richmond for more than 32 years, moving here when I married my husband David, right after college. 

I am fortunate to serve on the Federation Board and have the pleasure of chairing our Impact Grants committee. The Impact Grants allow the Federation to distribute funds for specific projects that our partner agencies implement. The projects bring about a change because they are designed to mobilize resources in the Jewish community to improve and transform lives. 

An outgrowth of a three-year process that redesigned the allocations system, the Impact Grants were targeted to three identified pressing needs: 1) expanding services for seniors and older adults; 2) engaging more teenagers in Jewish activities; and 3) engaging interfaith families. 

The grants were also intended to inspire individuals, organizations, synagogues and agencies to develop innovative programs and services that support and enrich our community. The grants we funded this year are a good start to making a difference in the three areas of need. 

This collaboration is a partnership among our agencies and is a hands-on-approach to making a measurable change. 

Here is what the Federation Board approved in April 2015:

JFS – KiRVA - $7,360   KiRVA is modeled on the Jewish Family Services friendly visitor and telephone reassurance programs.  The collaboration with Congregation Beth Ahabah is going to be expanded to include Temple Beth-El.

KBI Jewish Student Union - $15,000    Jewish Student Union clubs provide a framework for Jewish public school students to learn more about their Jewish root and enhance their Jewish Identity.

RTA Midor l’dor - $11,500    In conjunction with the Weinstein JCC Senior Adults Program, JFS, and Beth Sholom Lifecare Community, Rudlin Torah Academy will build strong and consistent connections with seniors in the Richmond area.  Programs will include visits by RTA students to senior facilities as well as seniors’ visiting RTA classrooms, attending performances and sharing holiday meals and celebrations.

Weinstein JCC EnRich - $22,670    The collaborative program (Weinstein JCC and JFS) will provide monthly programming that meets the social, mental and physical needs of individuals 65 and older. Different tracks will be developed to meet the senior’s needs.

Beth Sholom Elder Abuse Advocacy - $10,000    The Beth Sholom Prevent Elder Abuse Program will provide education to the larger Jewish community about the nature of abuse, the potential for caregiver burden, the highly charged dynamics that can occur in stressful situations.        

Total dollars allocated: $66,530

The funding of these first grants is a start for our work. The Impact Grants committee will continue to receive feedback from our agencies on their projects and how they were delivered. We anticipate that some of the agencies will apply for second and third year funding for these programs. We anticipate there will be more innovative and impactful programs that will be submitted for consideration in next year’s cycle.

I believe that our Jewish tradition provides a valuable roadmap to give wisely and with impact. The Richmond Federation’s foray into impact giving is part of a trend that other Federations around the U.S. are adopting. We are pleased to offer it here at home. 



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