We are always more powerful when we come together as a community to respond to a crisis. That’s why the Foundation and the Jewish Federation established the Jewish Hartford Rapid Relief and Recovery Fund (RRR Fund) in March 2020 to help people, agencies and synagogues impacted by COVID-19. The Foundation and Federation seeded the RRR Fund with $150,000. In the first months of the crisis, staff from the Foundation, Federation and Jewish Family Services (JFS) procured and delivered food each week, including hot kosher meals for Passover, plus Dignity Grows hygiene products to 125 Jewish families in need in 19 towns in Greater Hartford. The food program was eventually transitioned to JFS, which is doing a tremendous job serving the community’s needs.
The RRR Fund also provided direct financial assistance to those struggling from the economic fallout from the pandemic. Examples include helping a family pay for a Jewish funeral, providing financial aid to a woman who lost her job and had to support herself and her elderly father, and an entrepreneur whose business had been deemed non-essential and didn’t qualify for governmental assistance. Powered by contributions from nearly 500 donors, the RRR Fund raised and earmarked nearly $1 million in 2020 — including $300,000 from Donor Advised and Designated Funds — to help the Greater Hartford Jewish Community during COVID-19. This includes $225,000 for humanitarian needs such as food and financial assistance, more than $500,000 to help mitigate the financial hardships our agencies and synagogues suffered due to COVID-19, and $175,000 to establish a Jewish Interest-Free Loan Fund to supplement needs for families and individuals.
The Foundation is grateful to Dana Keller and Bruce Fischman, RRR Fund Development Committee Co-Chairs, and David Rosenthal and Sid Ulreich, Grants Committee Co-Chairs, who passionately led the RRR Fund effort, and to the committee members who worked tirelessly to make this all happen.