Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund Announces Initial $6.6 Million Commitment in Funds for COVID-19 Response

San Francisco, CA – The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund (the Federation) today announced an initial commitment of over $6.6 million to respond to needs evolving from the COVID-19 crisis. Funds will focus on supporting urgent needs of community members most impacted and mitigating the immediate financial impact on Jewish organizations, with grants to begin rolling out this week and over the coming month.

“We exist in service to our community, and this crisis poses a very real threat to its safety and resilience,” said Danny Grossman, the Federation’s CEO. “That’s why we are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to all the creative ways we can leverage resources and expertise to work together. We need everyone to donate to help our extraordinary community through such a challenging time.” 

Last month, the Federation conducted a community needs assessment survey for its Jewish organizational partners. There were 85 respondents including JCCs, synagogues, Hillels, day schools, social service agencies, and other Jewish organizations. Initial findings show that projected revenue loss could be upwards of $43 million by the end of June, with some organizations anticipating steep revenue losses of up to 80-90%. The Federation convened a Task Force, chaired by community volunteer John Goldman, to provide guidance on the nature and scope of the needs, and to mobilize additional resources and partners. 

“This pandemic is causing services to our most affected populations to be at tremendous risk, and we can’t let that happen,” says Goldman. “This is the time for our philanthropic community to come together as one and do all that we can to support vital services for those most affected and to stabilize our nonprofit community.”

The $6.6 million initial response will support the following needs:

Over $3.5 million will help Hebrew Free Loan meet unprecedented demand for zero-interest loans, requested by community members facing lost wages, reduced small business income, increased childcare costs, and food or housing insecurity due to the COVID-19 crisis. Donors with assets in donor-advised funds and supporting foundations managed by the Federation can make a grant recommendation, which is pooled with others into a recoverable grant for a 5-year term. 

The first $500,000 in donor-advised fund grant recommendations was generously matched by Laura and Gary Lauder, with an additional $1 million matching grant approved by the Endowment Committee to come from the Federation’s unrestricted endowment. The Federation will wire the first tranche of funds to Hebrew Free Loan by the end of the week in order to meet its current demand. 

“Hebrew Free Loan provides a crucial lifeline to so many in our community whose lives have nearly been destroyed by this crisis,” said Laura Lauder, the Federation’s Endowment Committee chair. “Gary and I wanted to provide matching funds to help catalyze that effort, along with the unrestricted endowment match. I am proud and amazed that we exceeded the match in just 6 days, due to the generosity of more than 30 donors. What an extraordinary community response, and so quickly.” 

“I admire the leadership, lay leaders and professional team at the Federation,” said Cindy Rogoway, Hebrew Free Loan’s Executive Director. “They are mobilizing their donors on a moment’s notice and raising urgently needed funds to enable Hebrew Free Loan to do what we do best: help individuals and families ride the waves and get back on their feet during these unsettling times.”

The Federation created this opportunity to meet the community’s exponential request for zero-interest loans, which exceed Hebrew Free Loan’s reserves. In a matter of days, Hebrew Free Loan received nearly 100 loan applications requesting over $1 million in total, compared to a historical monthly average of 35 loans, totaling $400,000. As the Bay Area moves deeper into the crisis, demand for loans is expected to reach into the millions.

“Our donors made gifts over the years to their donor-advised funds to set aside philanthropic assets in preparation for ‘rainy day’ moments such as this,” said Tanya Shadoan, the organization’s Director of Impact Investing who is leading this collaborative giving opportunity. “Best of all, when individuals pay off their loans, Hebrew Free Loan can reuse the funds as loans to others. When the 5-year term ends and the funds are returned, donors can recommend grants for other charitable purposes. We are all about maximizing philanthropic impact and have philanthropy advisors ready to help open and activate donor-advised funds for this purpose.” 

$3.1 million in emergency grants and community donations will support safety-net services for priority populations and help mitigate the financial impact on Jewish organizations. With the guidance of the Task Force, funds will be used to support priority populations such as seniors, those economically disadvantaged, and recently unemployed, with services such as direct financial assistance, food, mental health, and domestic violence support. The second category of support will be bridge services to help get organizations back on their feet, including JCCs, preschools, Jewish day schools, overnight camps and others that are core to the Jewish ecosystem. 

Unrestricted endowment funds of $2.2 million have been approved by the Endowment Committee for two years of emergency grantmaking. Over $900,000 has been raised to date from the community through the Federation’s COVID-19 Response Fund. The Federation continues to raise funds to meet the needs to address the projected financial impact of the crisis and encourages community members to donate.


The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund connects people of all ages, backgrounds, and perspectives to the power of the Jewish community to improve the world. We partner with donors, organizations, and foundations to address pressing issues facing our community, and develop innovative strategies that result in deep and lasting impact locally, in Israel, and around the world. Learn more at

For immediate release

April 02, 2020