UPDATED: April 23, 2020 5:38 p.m.
An anonymous donation of $500,000 has propelled the COVID-19 emergency fund established by the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta to nearly $3.7 million.
The half-million donation was double the largest donation previously received. More than 600 people have contributed to fund, with the smallest donation being $5.
The overall figure includes the $851,000 in grants made April 3 to organizations directly serving individuals in the community: Jewish HomeLife, Jewish Interest Free Loan of Atlanta, Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta; Jewish Family & Career Services, and the discretionary funds of rabbis.
Those grants were made based on projections of the organizations’ financial needs over the next 90 days. As the COVID-19 crisis continues, communal organizations tell the AJT that they are constantly reassessing their plans moving forward.
Renee Kutner, Federation’s vice president of marketing and leadership, said that as JFGA surveys these organizations, decisions will be made about the next round of grants.
The COVID-19 emergency fund created by the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta has raised $2.93 million from more than 470 donors.
That figure, released April 14, includes the $851,000 in grants made from the fund in the first round of allocations to communal organizations working directly with individuals in the Jewish community.
The largest grant, $273,000, was made to Jewish HomeLife, which operates senior care facilities and provides home services.
The Federation reports that those funds helped purchase:
- 1,782 N95 masks
- 3,050 surgical masks
- 5,470 gowns
- 50-plus cases of gloves
- 8 cases of disinfectant spray per week on average
- 3 cases of hand sanitizer per week on average
- Funds for five people to screen JHL staff and residents entering its buildings, at a cost of about $15,000 per person, per month.
Harley Tabak, president and CEO of Jewish HomeLife, told the AJT: “Thanks to the diligence of Jewish HomeLife staff, we have found PPE [personal protective equipment] from different parts of the United States and China. It has been very challenging getting enough of what we think we might need, and prices have gone up dramatically because of the demand. The Federation grant from the COVID campaign will help pay for most of the PPE needed for our team members over the next 90 days.”
Jewish HomeLife also received a critical piece of assistance from the family of a resident, who asked not to be identified, in securing and transporting a large shipment of PPE from China for use at Berman Commons.
On any given day, Jewish HomeLife cares for about 400 people in its residential facilities and about 300 living in private residences. Its clients range in age from 62 to the 100s. The vast majority in the residential facilities are in their 80s and 90s. JHL also employs about 450 people at its facilities.
On an April 1 conference call organized by the Federation, Tabak said that locating enough PPE for JHL employees is “a real nightmare for every health care provider in the country” and a 24-hour-a-day challenge. “We’re dealing with costs we haven’t had to incur,” he said, including extra overtime and sick leave, and based on what he’s being told, “We’re bracing for more tough times, especially in the coming month.”
Tabak has lauded his employees. “We have amazing caregivers who walk in our buildings every day knowing that they are potentially going to be exposed to the virus and risk their own health,” he said on the call. That was no idle statement, as six residents and six employees in JHL facilities have tested positive for COVID-19.