Generous Donations Help Fund Expanding Mental Health and Human Support Services | Shalom Austin

Generous Donations Help Fund Expanding Mental Health and Human Support Services

Community News, Jewish Family Service, The Jewish Outlook

Nov 23, 2021

Shalom Austin Jewish Family Service Committee. Left to right: Lawrence Maze, Rona Statman, Barbara Altman, Ian Spechler, Rabbi Amy B. Cohen (JFS Executive Director, Shalom Austin Chief Social Services Officer), Ari Franklin, Kim Schocket, Heather Krol, Fabianna Laby, Lenny Krasnow, Frances Meltzer, Brett Merfish. Credit: Dave Hawks.

By Rabbi Amy B. Cohen

On the evening of November 4, more than 100 supporters of Shalom Austin Jewish Family Service came together at Olive and June to celebrate the incredible growth of JFS and to offer a tribute to Mitch Sudolsky, of blessed memory. In his 16-year career as Executive Director from 2000-2016, Sudolsky, along with his tremendous team of social workers, built JFS into the respected agency that it is today. The joy in the air was palpable as this was the first in-person JFS event since the pandemic began. The evening provided the JFS staff, lay leaders and supporters with an opportunity to celebrate the agency’s mission and growth. This year has been an exciting year for JFS. In 2021, the JFS staff doubled in size with a special focus on hiring licensed clinicians to meet the growing mental health needs of the Jewish community and beyond. JFS opened a case management department, serving over 100 clients in need of housing and utility assistance, financial stability education and support. The challenges of COVID-19 created life altering shifts, including unemployment and housing loss for many individuals and families in the greater Austin area. In response, JFS stepped up to meet those needs. JFS continues to expand its services for older adults and their caregivers by offering counseling and support through the many ups and downs of aging.

JFS Benefit 2021 2

Janice Pierce, Carol Dochen and Arlene Maze at Olive and June Nov. 4 for the JFS Benefit. Credit: Dave Hawks.

JFS Benefit 2021 3

Brad and Jennifer Greenblum, Angie Harrison, Beth Sher, Kim and Matt Schocket at Olive and June Nov. 4 for the JFS Benefit. Credit: Dave Hawks.

At the JFS Benefit, a $100,000 matching gift was announced from an anonymous donor who is challenging friends of JFS to reach higher in their philanthropic goals. Individual contributions, foundation and grant support as well as generous volunteers are leading the way for JFS to become a leading mental health and human service agency in the greater Austin area.

To support the growth of JFS financially, visit shalomaustin.org/jfsdonate. Email joan.maniere@shalomaustin.org to find out how to volunteer and help serve the Austin Jewish community and its neighbors. ■

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