Tuesday, January 29, 2013

JFSNM Closes Its Doors

A Time of Sadness:  Thursday, January 17, 2013 was not a good day for the Jewish Family Service of New Mexico (JFSNM). And it was a terrible day for the New Mexico Jewish Community.

That was the day JFSNM announced that it was ending its Jewish Community Chaplaincy program.

For those of us who loved JFSNM - for the good work it did and the Jewish values it put into practice every day - this decision was, we thought, the worst thing in the world

But then the news got worse: JFSNM announced that it was ceasing operations as of Friday, February 1, 2013.

Here is the announcement from the JFSNM website:
JFS No Longer Able to Provide Services

January 28, 2013

Jewish Family Service of New Mexico (JFS), has served New Mexican seniors and families since 1985. We are sad to announce that the continued erosion in funding by federal, state, and corporate funders; contributions from individuals; and grants from private foundations has forced us to close our doors.

JFS has provided services such as care management, a community food pantry, transportation for seniors, wellness programs, Jewish community chaplaincy, holocaust survivor support, and housekeeping companion services to thousands of needy New Mexicans over the years. Demand for services continued to increase, while the availability of funding decreased significantly.

JFS’s Aging In Place Program was known throughout the United States and used as a model in the federal demonstration project “Community Innovations in Aging in Place”. JFS recently received national recognition via the Diversity in Aging Award from Grantmakers in Aging.

Executive Director Michael Gemme states, “We had been very fortunate to have strong community support and able to get foundation grants and other funding despite the declining economy. However, over the past year we saw major changes in the funding climate and despite submitting numerous grant proposals and other requests for funding, we were unable to obtain sufficient resources to keep our programs going.”

JFS is sending out letters to notify our clients and supporters of the closure, effective February 1st. Additionally, we are making every effort to contact our most vulnerable clients by telephone and refer them to other service providers.

All former JFS Staff and Board members appreciated the support of our dedicated donors and funders over the years. Thank you for giving JFS the honor of serving our community! 

The entire New Mexico Jewish community has suffered a terrible tragedy. 

Here is a statement from Sam Sokolove, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico (JFNM):
The recent news that Jewish Family Service of New Mexico will be ceasing operations effective February 1st is deeply saddening. The Jewish Federation of New Mexico expresses sympathies to the many volunteers and professionals who for twenty-eight years worked on behalf of the JFS mission, and great concern for the many JFS clients impacted by this closure.

While it is unfortunately not unusual for non-profit organizations to encounter financial problems that lead to their end, especially during an economic downturn, there are many questions that must be answered regarding the conditions that led to JFS’s unexpected demise. Over the coming weeks, we expect a full accounting and financial analysis to be conducted, and that those findings will be shared with our community.

While this is painful news, our community should rest assured that the Jewish Federation of New Mexico remains a strong agency prepared to address Jewish communal needs.  The Federation’s 2012 audit, conducted by Pulakos CPAs, PC, shows an agency that is well-positioned with the financial resources, managerial controls, Board oversight and low administrative overhead to steward community resources appropriately and effectively.

You may review the audit at our website, www.jewishnewmexico.org.       

As the JFNM provides financial support to Jewish agencies and programs, we will be closely examining our allocations process this year to be better equipped to see organizational weaknesses not necessarily revealed in a balance sheet. We will also be asking hard questions regarding sustainability, transparency and adherence to mission, and seeking outside expertise to further assist us in this critical endeavor.

In the wake of this development, we will also look to prioritize and potentially implement new programs to serve the most vulnerable members of our Jewish community. 

On Sunday, February 3rd, teams of volunteers will be reaching out on behalf of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico’s annual “Call Up” Phone–a-thon. If you receive a call that morning or afternoon, please know that your tzedakah – philanthropy – remains essential to the well-being and future of our Jewish community.  Also please know that the Jewish Federation of New Mexico fully appreciates that the funds we administer belong to our community, not to us, and that we have and will continue to function accordingly.

We remain committed to our mission of partnering with Jewish organizations to meet the needs of Jews in New Mexico, Israel and worldwide. Thank you for your generous support.

Here is the message of hope that Abq Jew wishes to leave you with: We, the Jewish community of New Mexico, will find a way to continue the programs that our Jewish community needs.

We're all in this together.
Please support JFNM on Super Sunday.


1 comment:

John Kelly said...

JFS ideas, which we couldn't embrace when first heard, helped my almost entirely non-Jewish Westside neighborhood evolve into a community.

The news makes me sad.