JSSA RECEIVES DC CARES NONPROFIT AWARD FOR IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
Agency Met Economic Challenge by Increasing Productivity and Emphasizing Key Services
Rockville, MD—June 17, 2009— JSSA (Jewish Social Service Agency), a nonsectarian provider serving the metro DC area, received the Nonprofit Community Impact Award from Greater DC Cares at yesterday’s Business and Nonprofit Philanthropy Summit and Awards in Washington, D.C.
The award recognized the positive impact on the community this past year of JSSA’s revitalized and refocused mental health, employment and emergency financial assistance services. JSSA’s emphasis on these key service areas was central to the agency’s response to the economic downturn and to the increased demand for critical care.
The award was presented at a luncheon where First Lady Michelle Obama gave a speech about the critical importance of community service.
Rising Needs Prompted More Efficiency
As requests for critical help were rising sharply in the community, JSSA launched a strategy to boost efficiency and increase productivity ensuring that as many clients as possible were served each day.
Due to the economic crisis, JSSA’s mental health case loads swelled dramatically and the number of new cases opened this year increased by more than 40% over last year. For the first time in its history, JSSA had significant waiting lists for mental health services for adults and children. The agency secured funding for additional staff specializing in the mental health needs of children and teens and continues to actively fundraise for this purpose.
During the last six months of 2008, requests for employment and career services rose by nearly 30% compared with the last six months of 2007. The agency added professional career coaches, revitalized program offerings and reduced service fees thus assisting clients, including those with special needs, find productive work leading to self-sufficiency.
JSSA also kept pace with the doubling of requests for short-term emergency financial assistance resulting from the economic downturn. With crucial support from JSSA’s board, donors, volunteers and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the agency has more than doubled its financial assistance grants in the past year. These grants are available only to eligible applicants who face specific needs such as avoiding foreclosure, paying utility bills or affording essential medical treatment and have exhausted all other resources. Recipients of financial assistance have also received additional social services from JSSA to support them as they move beyond their crises.
“We are deeply honored and grateful for the recognition we have received from a very distinguished group of leaders in the Washington philanthropy and business community,” said JSSA’s CEO, Ken Kozloff, who represented JSSA at the summit. “The DC Cares award is a tribute to our hardworking staff, our more than 1,000 dedicated volunteers and our generous funders – especially the Jewish Federation. Our success in meeting the increased demands of this unprecedented economic downturn has depended on strategic and innovative approaches. We are committed to continuing to retool our strategic initiatives in the months and years ahead to maximize JSSA’s positive impact on our community.