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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


Pictured above: JFHN Allocation Committee members at Joe's Place

Members of the Jewish Fund for Human Needs Allocation Committee visited with potential grantees during the months of October and November. In December, the final grant awards were made and nine agencies were funded. They are:

The Bridge, a sanctuary for homeless and at risk individuals;provides meals and support services.

Care to Learn, provides funding to children at area school districts to meet health, hunger and hygiene needs.

Immigrant & Refugee Womens' Program, provides volunteers who work one-on-one to teach immigrant and refugee woemn English and practical living skills.

Jane Doe Advocacy Center, provides legal services to those impacted by sexual violence.

Joe's Place, offers homeless boys in high school in the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District a caring home environment so they are able to graduate from high school and succeed in life.

Near Southside Employment Coalition, provides employment and training services to low-income residents living on the south side of St. Louis City.

PAKT Community Resource Center, provides programs to address the nutritional, health, educational, recreational and cultural needs of families in North County.

Sweet Potato Project, provides educational and entrepreneurial opportunities for at-risk urban youth; trains youth in urban gardening skills as well as cooking and marketing skills.

Volunteers in Medicine West County, provides free primary medical and psychiatric services to financially vulnerable individuals in the St. Louis region; founded by physicians in the St. Louis Muslim community.

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 |