JFCS of the Suncoast has disbursed $475,727 since April to families in Sarasota and Manatee counties experiencing financial hardship resulting from COVID-19. JFCS established the JFCS COVID-19 Emergency Hardship Fund in late March as the pandemic began to impact the community. A $250,000 lead gift from the Louis & Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust initially funded the program.
“During their lifetimes, Gloria and Lou Flanzer strongly believed in JFCS’ mission to support people in need. JFCS has shown leadership during this unprecedented time and, as members of our community, we are grateful that their efforts have offered critical support to so many,” said Eric Kaplan, Flanzer Trust co-trustee.
The JFCS COVID-19 Emergency Hardship Fund has provided direct assistance to more than 350 families for rent, utilities, transportation, food and other basic needs. In addition to the lead gift, many other JFCS donors made significant contributions to this effort. To help support the emergency hardship fund, JFCS also dedicated funding received through The 2020 Giving Challenge, presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation.
“COVID-19 has caused unprecedented hardship,” said Toby Deutsch, a JFCS partner. “The stories of families in our community unable to pay rent and utilities, repair their vehicles, put gas in their cars, or buy food have inspired my support of JFCS’ efforts.”
“We established the emergency fund to prepare for the COVID-related need that we knew was coming,” said Arthur Lerman, JFCS CEO. “The response to the announcement of available funding was overwhelming operationally and emotionally. The actual need exceeded our expectations, and the stories we have heard are heartbreaking. JFCS greatly appreciates the partnership we have with our funders that allowed us to make this program possible.”
With 100 percent of the available funds disbursed to families in need, JFCS will direct any new inquiries for support to other community resources.
JFCS of the Suncoast is one of the area’s leading mental health and human services agencies providing counseling, case management, homeless prevention and financial assistance to youth and families, individuals, veterans, seniors and individuals who are homeless in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and Lee counties. Inspired by the Jewish tradition of helping all people, services are delivered to people in need regardless of their religious background. To learn more about JFCS’ programs and how you can help, contact Arthur Lerman or Karen Zelden at 941 366-2224. www.jfcs-cares.org