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Jewish Federation of St. Louis today announced the creation of a Community Response Fund, designed to raise funds to meet the unprecedented needs created by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Throughout our 119-year history, Federation has always stepped up to meet the challenges to our community. Today, we don’t yet know the scope of the crisis. This fund will help meet those unexpected demands on our services,” said Brian Herstig, President and CEO of Federation.

Federation’s Community Impact team has been contacting all organizations in our community and assessing the short-term and long-term needs.

Fortunately, due to the generosity of Michael and Carol Staenberg, the campaign is off to an excellent start. The Staenbergs have created a matching grant that will double the impact of any gifts totaling up to $100,000. In addition, all members of Federation leadership have announced that they will be giving to the campaign.

Donations may be made online at JFedSTL.org/Covid-Community-Needs.

When it became clear that the outbreak was going to have a significant impact on the Jewish community, the Coordinating Committee of the Federation’s Board of Directors was convened, and the members charged a development working group with designing a campaign.

“While the full scope, impact and timeline of this pandemic are not known. What we know already is that there are people in need and the most vulnerable in our community (the elderly, the poor, those requiring special services) are always hit hardest when crises arise,” said Greg Yawitz, Board Chair.

This is not the first time, even in recent years, that Federation has established emergency funds to meet unexpected challenges. In 2002 and 2006, funds were established in response to crises in Israel, and Federation set up a fund in 2017 in response to the extensive damage at the Chesed Shel Emeth cemetery in University City.