Necessary safety net


As chief operating officer at the Jewish Social Service Agency, it is important that I clarify some misleading language that appeared in your article, “Holocaust survivor fund far from $5 million goal” (June 5).

The initial and overwhelmingly generous response from donors in the Washington community has, in fact, allowed for the restoration of services provided to frail, impoverished Holocaust survivors that had previously been pared back. We use and will continue to use funds made available through the joint JSSA and Jewish Federation of Greater Washington Communal Fund created specifically for this purpose alone. Because many of the fund’s sizable gifts have been pledged over a period of five and even 10 years (which is largely the intent of this finite fund – to cover costs unfolding over the lifetime of its very vulnerable recipients), all funds are not immediately available and therefore, not spent at once. Already this year, a deficit of $157,159 provided in financial assistance (food cards, rent and utility payments, prescription drug purchases, etc.) has been erased by drawing down from the communal fund.

JSSA, along with the Federation, continues to use the fund carefully and appropriately and to manage it responsibly, all the while ensuring the area’s local survivor population receives necessary safety-net services to remain secure and comfortable in their own homes.  While some interest may accrue in the process of overseeing receipt and distribution of contributions it is neither the goal nor the manner in which the communal fund is administered. JSSA anticipates drawing on the fund each year.

Chief Operating Officer, Jewish Social Service Agency
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