Jewish Federations Raise Nearly $1 Million to Support Victims

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NEW YORK (PRNewswire) — Since opening the Japan, Hawaii and Pacific Relief Fund immediately following the tragic earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, the Jewish Federations Movement has raised nearly $1 million to support relief and recovery efforts in the damaged areas.

The Jewish Federations of North America, the umbrella group of the movement, has directly raised more than $187,000 through online, mobile and mailed donations. In addition, many individual federations have also opened funds, which have yielded nearly $680,000 in combined donations.

At latest count, the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and the UJA-Federation of New York have raised more than $125,000 each, while the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s fundraising has totaled more than $100,000.

The Emergency Committee of the Jewish Federations of North America voted last week to allocate $135,000 of the funds raised to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), which is supporting victims on the ground in Japan through local humanitarian organizations.

JDC recently partnered with the Israel Defense Forces to operate a field hospital in the city of Minamisanriku, and has also provided emergency supplies and humanitarian relief through local organizations, including the International Rescue Committee, JEN (a Japanese NGO) and the Jewish community of Japan.

“By allocating our first contribution to the JDC, Jewish Federations can be sure their funds will be put to use quickly and effectively, benefiting those most in need,” said Fred Zimmerman, chair of JFNA’s Emergency Committee. “We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the Jewish community, and continue to evaluate the best applications for federation donations as the situation evolves.”

The Emergency Committee will meet again in two weeks to reevaluate the situation on the ground in Japan, and plans to allocate additional funds in early April.

The Jewish Federations Movement is committed to care for victims of global natural disasters, and has emergency relief plans in place to aid those in need. In 2005, Jewish Federations raised nearly $30 million to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, and approximately $10 million for those affected by the tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004.

“The Jewish Federations stand ready to respond to disaster with the strength of our collective action, to ensure that the funds contributed by generous donors are put to work in the most effective way possible,” said Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America. “Working in partnership with our trusted overseas partner, JDC, we can be sure that these funds will have the greatest impact where they are needed most in Japan.”

The Jewish Federation movement is the largest Jewish philanthropy collective in the world and the Jewish Federations of North America is dedicated to promoting awareness and involvement among the Jewish community in the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.jewishfederations.org/.

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