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Jewish groups receive nearly $36,000 in grants
By Chris Barnett / December 18, 2017 /   Loading Disqus...

Five Jewish community charitable organizations will receive nearly $36,000 in grants through the Bliss, Gross, Horowitz Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation. The work ranges from a collaboration with the Islamic School of Rhode Island to restoring the historic Sons of Jacob synagogue in Providence.

“We are delighted to provide additional support to Jewish charitable organizations serving greater Providence. We are eager to see how these projects engage their community and the community at large,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Foundation.

Bliss, Gross, Horowitz funds proposals that develop connections between the Jewish community and greater Rhode Island, deepen the understanding of Jewish culture through scholarship and historic preservation or provide for basic human needs such as food and housing.

The Foundation gave priority to proposals that had clearly stated goals and objectives, measurable outcomes and a clear sustainability plan. This year’s recipients are:

Temple Emanu-El received $5,000 for Singing the Dream Open Sing, a community-based event where people of all ages, races and diverse beliefs from local churches, synagogues, community choral groups and the community-at-large will gather to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through music and song. The event is scheduled for Sun., Jan. 28, at 2 p.m. at the Central Congregational Church in Providence.

“We will invite all of Rhode Island to come together and indulge their love of song while honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  We will bring people from all walks of life, Jew and non-Jew, White, Black, Asian and Latino to sing together in celebration of diversity, inclusion and human connection,” said Miriam Ross.

The Rhode Island Jewish Museum received $3,000 to launch a fundraising campaign to restore the historic Sons of Jacob synagogue at 24 Douglas Avenue in Providence as a place of worship and a museum of immigrant life in Rhode Island.

“We will transform this venerable monument of Jewish Life into a center that will reflect the accomplishments made by Rhode Island Jewish immigrants, showcase the creations of local artists and provide outreach and opportunities for the Smith Hill neighborhood,” said Larry B. Parness, treasurer. “The museum will be an important resource for education, research and service to our community and all of Rhode Island.

"The museum is housed in a special home, an incredible artifact with beautiful murals. The building itself will be an important part of the exhibits,” he said.

Jewish Family Service received $5,000 to provide home-based mental health counseling to home-bound seniors and disabled clients who cannot access services in an office setting.

“Home-bound clients tend to have multiple stressors to cope with: complex medical conditions, long-term mental health issues and case management needs said Meghan Cavanaugh, clinical director of JFSRI’s Counseling Center.

“Counseling provides stability and links clients to necessary wrap-around services. As home-based services are rare, this program provides critical services for vulnerable clients. It allows JFSRI to expand our clientele and assist clients we would not normally be able to help,” she said.

The Foundation awarded $7,500 to facilitate a strategic planning process with the leadership teams of Jewish Family Service and Jewish Seniors Agency, which soon will combine to become one entity, Jewish Collaborative Services.

“Our goal is to develop a three-year plan that will establish long-range goals for the new agency and its programs that further the mission of the organization, will identify future opportunities and will establish metrics that will guide future resource allocation,” said Susan Bazar, executive director of the Jewish Seniors Agency.

The Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island (JCDSRI) received two grants totaling $15,700. The organization will use $7,400 to fund a school-wide initiative that will address how to define and implement Jewish pluralism at school and in the community at large.

“Our families come from all over the spectrum of Jewish belief and practice. The initiative will include a professionally facilitated series of discussions regarding our vision of pluralism and eventually will culminate in a school-wide Shabbaton where we will put this vision into practice,” said Alison Walter, JCDSRI’s development director.

JCDSRI also received $8,000 to fund its Partners in Peace program, which is a joint program with the Islamic School of Rhode Island (ISRI).

The project will give fifth-graders from both schools an opportunity to explore, discover and learn together for three hours every week during the spring semester. The program will begin with a jointly planned Martin Luther King Jr. Day event, during which students and families from both schools gather to celebrate Dr. King's vision of peace and justice.

“We will continue to build on the success of last year to enhance the MLK Day program that all families will be invited to. This year Brown University Jewish and Muslim students will be facilitating the weekly program with the fifth-graders,” said Walter.

Over the years, the Bliss, Gross, Horowitz Fund has awarded more than $273,000 in grants. The fund is supplemented by grants from the Sock/Myers Memorial Fund.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2016, the Foundation awarded a record $45 million in grants to organizations addressing the state's most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island achieve its full potential.


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