Grant to Promote Inclusion of Individuals with Disabilities in Jewish Life

Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies was one of 22 organizations to receive funding under a matching grants program sponsored by The Genesis Prize Foundation  and Jewish Funders Network. The program, Breaking Barriers Initiative, established in honor of 2016 Genesis Prize Laureate Itzhak Perlman, will fund programs that promote inclusion of individuals with disabilities in Jewish life. A total of $3.71 million will be dedicated to this area of philanthropy.

This is the second year this grant has been awarded. Last year’s grant honored Michael Douglas and matched $3.3 million focused on engaging intermarried families in Jewish life. In following the Genesis Prize Laureate tradition, Itzhak Perlman, a famous violinist and disabilities activist chose to direct his $1 million prize to funds to encourage inclusion of individuals with disabilities in Jewish life.

More than 50 agencies applied for the Breaking Barriers funding. In addition to NHJSA, four of the other grant recipients are NJHSA member agencies:  Jewish Child and Family Services of Chicago, Jewish Family Service & Children’s Center of Clifton/Passaic New Jersey, Jewish Family Service of MetroWest New Jersey, and Jewish Family Service of Seattle.

The Breaking Barriers grant of $36,000 to NJHSA will be matched by a separate grant from an anonymous donor.  Together, this funding will enable NJHSA to invest resources to broaden its efforts to strategically identify and engage additional Jewish human service agencies to become involved in efforts to promote disability inclusion in Jewish life.  The grant will also enable NJHSA to build and sustain strategic collaborations with existing national agencies to collectively strengthen disability inclusion and advocacy and to assist its member agencies as they develop and expand their efforts related to inclusion.

Portland’s Jewish Family & Child Service is a member of NJHSA. JFCS Interim Director Kathleen Sullivan says that JFCS will be submitting a grant proposal to NJHSA for possible funding under the national grant.

“There is no guarantee that our local programs will be awarded, however, this is a wonderful example of the Jewish community supporting full inclusion,” says Kathleen.

“As a new national agency, with international affiliates, the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies is honored to be among a selected group of organizations all of whom are seeking to enhance their capacity to promote inclusion in Jewish life.  Together, NJHSA looks forward to working with its member agencies and others to find meaningful ways to sustain these important community building efforts” said Reuben D. Rotman, President and CEO, NJHSA.

NJHSA, a new entity resulting from the affiliation of the Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies  with the International Association of Jewish Vocational Services, strives to be the leading voice for the Jewish human service sector – the go-to place for best practices, research, innovation and partnerships; strengthening agencies so that they can better serve their communities. For more information about NJHSA visit


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