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Focus Areas > Social Justice > Jewish Fund for Human Needs


    Rabbi Robert P. Jacobs Jewish Fund for Human Needs (JFHN)

Who We Are

The Jewish Fund for Human Needs (JFHN) works to fulfill the mitzvah of tzedakah (the obligation to do righteous acts) by awarding small grants to non-Jewish social services agencies helping those in need throughout the St. Louis region. An Allocations Committee made up of representatives of a cross-section of the Jewish community determines which agencies shall be funded. There are two funding cycles per year. Through these grants, JFHN helps to support small St. Louis area non-profits which are providing direct services to those in need of food, housing, health care, education, employment and other essential human needs. The current JFHN Chair is Julie Eastlund of Congregation Shaare Emeth.

JFHN is a joint project of the JCRC and the St. Louis Rabbinical JFHN Association with support from the Jewish Federation of St. Louis and the Lubin-Green Foundation. By contributing to the JFHN, you are participating in our age-old tradition of tikkun-olam…repair of the world.

New members of the Fund Allocations Committee are welcomed each year in January. Applications for openings for At-Large members are available beginning the previous Fall and can be obtained by contacting JCRC Director of Domestic Issues, Gail Wechsler at 314-442-3894 or

Recent JFHN News


Members of the Jewish Fund for Human Needs Allocation Committee visited with potential grantees during the months of March, April and May. In early June, the final grant awards were made and nine agencies were funded. They are:

North Grand Neighborhood Services, for its Angel Baked Cookies project, which hires teens from at risk neighborhood to bake, sell and market cookies to earn money and learn leadership and job skills.

Safe Homes for the Elderly & Disabled (SHED), to fund its efforts to make small home repairs and other improvements so that elderly and disabled residents in North County can stay in their homes.

Annie's Hope, to fund support groups at schools in low-income communities where chidlren are grieving the loss of a close family member or friend.

English Tutoring Project (pictured below), to fund tutors to help children who are immigrants and refugees learn English so they can succeed in school and in life.

Let's Start, to fund support groups to assist women who have been incarcerated to start a new chapter in their lives.

Lift for Life Gym, for fund nutrition and healthy eating programs serving youth in North Saint Louis City.

Community Women Against Hardship, to fund a variety of programs to help low-income families in the region.

Room at the Inn, to fund emergency shelter and job training programs for the homeless.

St. John Community Improvement Corporation, to fund Project Work-Start, which provides paying summer jobs to teens in under served neighborhoods.


On February 20, 2013, the musical group Shir Ami performed in a benefit concert for the Jewish Fund. The evening of Israeli, Yiddish, Ladino and American-Jewish music raised about $1000 for the work of the Jewish Fund. The audience also heard from Sister Jackie Toben of Let’s Start and Sandra Jones of St. Johns’ Community Improvement Corporation. Both agencies have benefited from grants provided by the Fund. The event was part of the Festival of Jewish Life and took place at the Staenberg Arts & Education Center at the JCC.

(Left)Josh Avigad chaired and was emcee for the concert
(Right) Some of the members of Shir Ami performing at the Feb. 20 concert

In other news:

What a busy year the Jewish Fund for Human Needs had! The JFHN allocates grants to agencies that assist those in need. The Fund thereby exemplifies the Jewish traditions of tzedakah, giving in the spirit of justice, as well as tikkun olam, repairing the world.

Since its inception in 1985, JFHN has provided grants to well over 150 area agencies helping those in need. Recent grant recipients include:

Helping Hand Me Downs, an organization that helps new parents in need by providing them with baby clothes and supplies when their newborns leave the hospital.

The Covering House, an organization that provides a place of refuge and restoration for girls who have been sexually exploited or sexually trafficked within the United States and now reside in the St. Louis area.

Immigrant & Refugee Women’s Program, an organization that increases the independence and reduces the isolation of immigrant and refugee women by teaching them basic English and practical living skills in the security of their own homes.

JFHN Grantee St. John’s Community Improvement Corporation holds Work Start Graduation Ceremony

On the summer of 2013, JFHN Grantee St. John’s Community Improvement Corporation held a graduation for the students who participated in its summer Work Start program. Students ages 14-17 were paired with local employers and worked for six weeks over the summer, learning important life skills and earning a stipend for their efforts. At the graduation, each student spoke about what the experience meant to him or her.

A 2013 grant from JFHN funded two mentors, Shaina Jones and Joann Harris, who worked with the teens and supported them as they participated in the program.

Participants in the St. John’s Work Start program display their diplomas.

Said JFHN Committee member Amy Gage, who attended the ceremony: “I felt very privileged to witness the beautiful ceremony and hear the students describe their learning experiences this summer in the workplace. I was truly moved by [the student] speeches. The students described how they learned life skills that many of us take for granted--from learning to wake up in the morning and get somewhere in time, to learning how to respectfully address a boss or a customer. They described the sacrifices some of their families made for them to be out of the house for these hours this summer. And they also described the actual skills of the trade that they learned--from plating food at a catering business, to entertaining senior citizens at the day care center. [The Work Start]program makes an enormous difference in the lives of these young teens.”

JFHN Committee visits with Hopebuild, which promotes
healthy eating and an active lifestyle.

JFHN Committee visits with Community Women Against
Hardship, a program dedicated to providing basic services
to low income, single parents and their families.

For more information contact JFHN at (314) 442-3894 or

"Because every human has infinite potential"   
Talmud-Sanhedrin 37a


Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis | 12 Millstone Campus Dr. | St. Louis, MO 63146 | 314-442-3871 |