Jewish Family Services Indy Receives Funds for Holocaust Survivor Care


March 11, 2021


Rebecca Dinar, JFNA, (305) 710-5361

Andrea Krusynski, JFGI,

Jewish Family Services Indianapolis Receives Funds for Holocaust Survivor Care

Jewish Family Services Indianapolis is proud to announce it has received a grant from The Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) Center on Aging and Trauma, a project of the Holocaust Survivor Initiative. When combined with matching funds, this award will enable $66,666 in new programming for Holocaust survivors over the next two years. Programming is particularly needed to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, JFS staff will receive intensive training on Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed (PCTI) care.

This program will focus on providing mental health support for local Holocaust survivors through ongoing counseling.

“COVID-19 has caused extreme isolation for the health and well being of our Holocaust survivors,” said Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis CEO Debby Barton Grant. “This pandemic has drastically changed the way we engage with one another, making it even harder to make imperative connections. We are concerned for the well-being of our survivor population and how this pandemic will impact mental health. These much-needed funds will allow our local social services arm to work intimately with our survivors through counseling, helping to ease social isolation and mental health support.”

“Holocaust survivors are our teachers and our heroes,” said Mark Wilf, chair of JFNA’s Board of Trustees and past chair of JFNA’s Holocaust Survivor Initiative. “With inspiring strength and conviction, they teach us about the past. Now, they are teaching us how to better serve all older adults who have survived trauma. We are honored to partner with the federal government to lead this initiative and call on all communities to come together to support Holocaust survivors in need.”

This grant is part of The Jewish Federations of North America’s partnership with the Federal government to improve lives for Holocaust survivors, and comes as the world observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Recognizing the value of the person-centered, trauma-informed (PCTI) approach, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living has awarded a new grant of $5 million to JFNA’s Center on Aging and Trauma to serve Holocaust survivors, other older adults with a history of trauma, and their family caregivers. Funds from private philanthropists complement the federal grant.

Reports suggest that one out of three Holocaust survivors in the U.S. lives in poverty, and as many as 90 percent of older adults in the U.S. have a history of trauma, which can be caused by events such as war, violence, accidents, domestic or sexual abuse, or discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the challenges experienced by Holocaust survivors and other older populations. Many live alone and are at risk for social isolation, depression, and other physical and mental health conditions.

PCTI care is a holistic approach to service provision that promotes the dignity, strength, and empowerment of all individuals by incorporating knowledge about the role of trauma in victims' lives into agency programs, policies and procedures. Spearheaded by JFNA, this approach acknowledges that survivors of trauma have distinct and extraordinary needs, and that service delivery must include an understanding of these needs to avoid re-traumatization.

As part of JFNA’s Holocaust Survivor Initiative, the Center on Aging and Trauma promotes excellence in service delivery together with the expertise of partner organizations including the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. In addition to providing sub-grants for local services, the Center on Aging and Trauma offers robust technical consultations on the development and implementation of PCTI programming, as well as trainings open to all aging service providers to catalyze a nationwide culture-shift toward PCTI care. The grant relies upon annual Congressional appropriations and private philanthropic contributions.  JFNA is proud of the bipartisan Congressional support for this program championed by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Bill Johnson (R-OH).

This program is made possible by federal funds from a grant through The JFNA Center on Aging and Trauma. Approximately 75 percent of the project, or $50,000, comes from federal sources. Approximately 25 percent or $16,667 comes from non-federal sources. 



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