AJFCA Newsletter
In This Issue

Supporting Seniors Through Winter Blues

jfs metrowest, ma  

During the last blizzard, Delores Paredes trudged through the snow to look after an elderly couple she helps as a personal care homemaker for Jewish Family Service of MetroWest. On her day off, the Framingham resident bathed Ramon Camilo, a 101-year-old new citizen from the Dominican Republic, prepared meals for his wife and him and ensured they had enough food to get through the storm.

That mix of "professionalism and personal involvement,'' doesn't surprise Damaris Medina-Hernandez, home care manager for JFSM, who supervises Paredes and 21 others. Read the entire article here.
Reflections of Hope Luncheon


Award winning actress Linda Evans, will keynote the 3rd Annual "Reflections of Hope" Luncheon in an effort to break the stigma of mental illness and benefit the mental health services of Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services.  Evans, best known for her role as Krystal Carrington in the hit television series Dynasty, has herself suffered from depression, which she shares in her best-selling book, Recipes for Life: My Memories.  The community is invited to hear Evans at 11:00 a.m. on February 26, 2015 at Boca West Country Club.

Glenn Glazer, WPTV Channel 5 meteorologist will once again emcee the compelling program that helps raise the profile of this critical issue affecting one in four adults, while raising much needed funds to support mental health services. Learn more here.
Retirement Notice


The Board of Directors of Agence Ometz announced that Howard Berger, Co-Executive Director, will retire effective April 30, 2015.

Since 2001, Howard has held leadership roles in Agencies providing critical services to the Jewish Community in Montreal.  As Executive Director for Jewish Employment Montreal (JEM - formerly Jewish Vocational Services) Howard built a strong and respected organization dedicated to helping native Jewish Montrealers and new arrivals hone their job seeking skills and to reaching out to the business community to secure employment opportunities for those so eager to work.  
Gail Small will remain in place as Executive Director. Continue reading here.
Jewish Disability Awareness Month:  From Awareness to Inclusion

jcfs chicago  

During the month of February, Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago celebrated Jewish Disability Month (JDAM) and North American Inclusion Month (NAIM) by joining forces with agency affiliates to offer community-wide programs that raised awareness and responded to the needs, strengths, opportunities and challenges of people with disabilities and their families across the lifespan.

 "Jewish Disability Awareness Month is the perfect time to showcase the depth of our year-round programs, events and services that continually build inclusive communities for children and adults with disabilities and their families," said Elizabeth Wyman, JCFS Senior Director, Services for People with Disabilities.

Photo Courtesy: Harter, Larson & Dodd, Estate Planning and Elder Law

JCFS offers a variety of services and resources  including respite, community workshops, inclusive camps and recreation, assessment and testing, residential support for adults, education and support groups, and speech, occupational and developmental therapies.

 Events throughout the month included:  "Policy, Advocacy, and You! Success in Community Living for People with Disabilities" highlights successful community living that is happening in the midst of dramatic changes in national and state polices impacting people with disabilities and seniors. This program is beneficial for people with disabilities, older adults, their family members and the professionals who work with them. Featured speakers include self-advocates as well as policy experts from Access Living and Health and Medicine Policy Group. Read more here.
Rounding Up:  The Central Co-op Partnership

jfs seattle  
by Leslie Sugiura, Director of Special Events

If you've shopped at the Central Co-op on Capitol Hill in recent months, you might have been asked by your cashier if you'd like to round your grocery bill up to the nearest dollar for local food banks. This simple question has helped raise more than $6,000 in the past 19 months, resulting in a 400% increase of the Co-op's donation to Jewish Family Service of Seattle.

"The on-going support from the Central Co-op is amazing," says Carol Mullin, Director of Emergency Services. "They understand the needs in our community and express that support clearly through this initiative."

"We thank our partners across the street for their active participation in our community," says Mullin. "They've been longtime supporters of what we do here."

JFS is one of two beneficiaries of this fundraising effort; the other being Centerstone Food Bank. Both food banks are located within minutes of the store.

"We're committed to principles defined by our members," says Community Outreach Administrator Webster Walker. "It's not only about the bottom line; it's about being a good member of the community. Everyone should have access to good, quality food." Continue reading the blog here.
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February 27, 2015  
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Vital and Vibrant Jewish Social Service Agencies

James R. Kahn, Board Chair
Lee I. Sherman, President/CEO
[The following article was written as a response to media attention to recent issues at a few Jewish social service agencies in New York City. We want to express that these particular instances are not representative of the financial health and outstanding work of other Jewish social service agencies in NYC, like our members the Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services and the Jewish Child Care Association, and across North America.]

Recently, with media attention to the closing of one New York Jewish social service agency and the potential closing of another, a number of articles have expressed concern over the continued viability of social service agencies that originated in and have supported their Jewish communities for generations. While some clients may face disruption in service, there are Jewish agencies across North America that are present every day to care for and inspire their existing clients and those who will need their services in the future.

Jewish social service agencies today are complex organizations. They receive funding from multiple sources, including government, foundations, federations, individuals, and fees for service, all of which contribute to strong and stable balance sheets.  These agencies, through their skilled leaders, have weathered the Great Recession and recent government cutbacks, and continue to grow and expand, serving increased numbers of clients with new and innovative services.  Jewish traditions and values are core to the mission of each agency and its service to clients of all backgrounds.  Our local communities and the Jewish community globally need the work of these agencies.  Fortunately, they have the ability to continue to support their work and sustain them for future generations. Continue reading here
Jewish Disability Advocacy Day
AJFCA was one of the sponsoring agencies for Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (JDAD) on Wednesday, February 25th. During JDAD advocates from across the country gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act and the passage of the ABLE Act as well as to learn about and advocate for the reallocation of SSDI and increased funding for transportation options that support persons with disabilities in their communities. Advocates spent the afternoon meeting with members of the House of Representatives to speak on these important issues and gather support for persons with disabilities across the country.
Jewish Disability Awareness Month
In observance of Jewish Disability Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion in the Jewish community, AJFCA will be highlighting member agencies that promote inclusion of people with disabilities in their communities. Click here to view the Resource Guide and sign up for Jewish Disability Awareness Day.

The Horvitz YouthAbility Program of Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland

The Horvitz YouthAbility Program of Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland (JFSA Cleveland) builds positive relationships between at-risk and special needs youth, ages 14-22, through both the performing arts and volunteerism. The goals of the program are multi-disciplinary: through their experiences participants boost their self-esteem, develop leadership skills, strengthen their personal talents, develop communication and job skills, and explore possible careers. A unique feature of this program is the combination of at-risk and special needs youth as its primary membership. At-risk youth learn to mentor and connect with special needs youth, placing them in a leadership position they may never have experienced before.

YouthAbility participants represent a wide range of abilities, ethnicities, religions, socio-economic backgrounds, legal status and life experiences. Participants are referred from schools, vocational service associations, mental health facilities, police departments, juvenile court, counseling centers, county agencies, service centers for the disabled and individual families. Forty percent of the participants have developmental disabilities including Downs Syndrome, Autism, Spinal Bifida, blindness, jfsa clevelanddeafness, development disability, emotional disturbance, bi-polar, depression, personality disorder, stroke survivors, cancer survivors, complex medical conditions, narcolepsy, and catatonia. Sixty percent of the participants are at-risk teens facing challenges such as truancy, juvenile offenders, suspension or being expelled from school, foster care or disrupted foster placements, or disrupted adoptions.
At the core of YouthAbility is "PLAY!" (Perform, Learn, Affirm Yourself).  Each year participants explore, research, write, produce and perform a play centered on empowering youth by using a positive theme and message. The play is performed throughout the Greater Cleveland area at schools, religious and community organizations and taken on tour during annual out-of-state field trips. Not only do participants benefit directly from engaging in the artistic process of creating their own play, but community members who attend their performances learn more about and begin to appreciate the abilities of special needs and at-risk youth. In 2014, over 300 youth participated in YouthAbility, engaging in over 10,000 hours of arts programming.

The annual out-of-state field trips teach participants important life skills and resiliency. Some participants have never traveled outside of their own neighborhoods and this becomes an aspirational goal for many. To date, YouthAbility has performed at the International Friendship Festival in the Buffalo/Niagara area, Chicago, Philadelphia, Israel and New Orleans. In 2015, the group will travel to San Francisco. They have also lobbied members of Congress during a learning trip to Washington DC.

Before each trip, participants learn about the history and culture of their destination.  Each field trip provides participants with a unique learning experience that stays with them well after the trip is completed.

YouthAbility provides a safe and supportive environment where youth feel comfortable, allowing them room for growth. By providing access to positive activities, such as arts, travel and volunteering, youth begin to see alternatives to risky behavior. Adults working with YouthAbility (staff and volunteers) act as mentors. Because of the low-risk atmosphere, teens feel comfortable talking with the adults. The model used with this program differs from traditional social services because the youth are engaged in providing services, rather than receiving them. A key component to the philosophy is that through positive engagement, the participants' perceptions of themselves will change and improve.
Op-Ed:  Speak Out to Make U.S. More Inclusive for Disabled JTA logo
A quarter-century ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act became the law of the land. That's 25 years of progress, of advances that have improved the lives of people with disabilities beyond what was previously possible. The Jewish community has joined in those efforts and sought to bring accessibility and awareness to the forefront. This February marks the seventh annual Jewish Disability Awareness Month, or JDAM. Read the entire article here.
Jewish Organization Sign-On Statement on Immigration
Please join AJFCA in signing a statement about the President's Executive Action on immigration. This statement, signed by national and local Jewish organizations, welcomes President Obama's executive action on immigration and urges Congress to enact meaningful reform to repair our immigration system. Agencies may read the letter and the list of current signers through this link.
The Health Insurance Marketplace and Taxes
health insurance marketplace
If a client enrolled in a health plan through the Marketplace in 2014, they will receive Form 1095-A in the mail from the Marketplace by early February. It includes basic information that they'll need to know about their household's enrollment, premium payments, and premium tax credit amounts. Clients will need this form for filing taxes in order to fill out new Forms 8962 (Premium Tax Credit Form) and 8965 (Exemptions). If a client didn't have health coverage for all or part of 2014, their income taxes could be affected. They may have to qualify for a health coverage exemption or pay a fee with their federal income tax return. Learn more about exemptions here. 2014 Fees are $95 a person ($47.50 per child) or 1% of yearly household income. For more information about fees click here. Additional information about how the Affordable Care Act can impact taxes can be found here.
7 Questions To Guide Your Nonprofit Strategy social velocity
Without a long-term strategy for what your nonprofit is trying to accomplish and how you will marshal people and money to reach it, you are just spinning your wheels. Rather than be a feared and misunderstood exercise, strategic planning can actually be distilled into 7 key questions. Now granted, these are really challenging questions, but they can be the impetus for some thoughtful strategic decision-making among board and staff. These 7 questions must be tackled in the following order because they build on each other. Read the 7 questions here.
The Art of Healing
The Center for Pastoral Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary, is hosting The Art of Healing: A Daylong Conference on Spirituality and the Arts on March 8th. Discover how to draw on creative exploration and expression for spiritual sustenance through a variety of workshops and seminars. Registration, as well as more information on the sessions and presenters, can be found here
2015 AJFCA Annual Conference

Click here to REGISTER

Click here to book your room at the Hilton Miami Downtown.

Click here to view a tentative schedule, list of sessions and descriptions, optional Monday luncheons and details surrounding the Sunday evening Host Community Event and CEO Council.
AJFCA would like to offer a complimentary yoga class to conference   attendees, as well as a walking/running group. If you are interested in teaching a yoga class or leading a walk/running group please email Megan
The Changing Landscape of Community and Residential Supports for Persons with Disabilities Webinar Series
Professionals, self-advocates, and family members are invited to this 4-part webinar series presented by the Task Force on Jewish Residential Alternatives for Adults with Disabilities outlining the changing landscape of community and residential supports for persons with disabilities. Spring (March 18th) and summer (June 17th) sessions will provide participants with an understanding of self-advocacy and best practices related to life planning and transitions from school to emerging adulthood. Fall (October 21st) and winter (December 16th) sessions will focus on changing policy impacting the creation of and access to residential services as well as changes to Medicaid and other policies that impact access to an array of support services.

The series is offered free of charge to all AJFCA network professionals and available to clients of AJFCA members and professionals and clients at non-member organizations for a fee. Read more and register for each session individually or sign up for the entire series here

Share these webinars with your network. Click here for a flyer to share with your network. Contact Liz with questions.
Introduction to Legal Shield: Benefits for Employees & Clients
Join Legal Shield, AJFCA's newest partner, for a 30 minute presentation. We will discuss the services Legal Shield has to offer AJFCA Member Agency employees and clients served while highlighting how Legal Shield can specifically support your agency's domestic violence and other programs. Additionally we'll go over:
  • Vision of the partnership between AFJCA & LegalShield
  • Introduction to LegalShield
  • How Legal Shield will serve the employees/community of AFJCA
Introduction to Legal Shield: Benefits for Employees & Clients
Thursday, March 12th, 2pm ET - REGISTER HERE
Nonprofit Boards Can and Should Avoid this Problem with CEO Compensation board of directors
This story is not new. A CEO spends decades providing measurably great leadership for a nonprofit, but no one ever considers ensuring that she is able to retire at the end of all that. So the board plays a little catch-up and makes a lump sum payment, causing a media storm in which scrutiny is focused unkindly on the organization. Continue reading here.
Factor in the Human Factor:  Building a Strong Board Chair-CEO Partnership board source
Organizations need people with the right skills, knowledge, and synergy to accomplish greatness. This is the human factor. An organization's human factor is embedded in the leadership of the chief executive and board chair, and it must be mobilized within these two individuals before it can be harnessed in others. Read more here.
Hey Nonprofits: Here Comes Gen Z Donors beth kanter
Many nonprofit fundraisers know about and have specific strategies to reach, cultivate, and solicit baby boom donors, Gen X donors, and Gen Y donors. But look out, get ready to reach out to Gen Z donors, sometimes called "PhilanthroTeens"  or "PhilanthroKids." Read the entire article here.
Reframing Issues in the Digital Age: Using Social Media Strategically NPQ
One of a social advocate's most critical acts is to frame an issue. In framing, a communicator uses language, metaphor, and other means to bring the community into the issue in a particular way. Reframing an issue is hard work, as frames are socially shared and persist over time; but it is worth it, because public opinion and policy preferences are frame dependent. The stories nonprofit communicators tell have the power to make the public more or less supportive of positive changes-for instance, in the way we support human health and well-being, distribute society's resources, and redress long-standing injustices. Continue reading here.
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