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Elaine Goldstine, CEO, Jewish Federation of Winnipeg; Al Benarroch, Executive Director, JCFS; Danita Dubinsky Aziza, Past President, JCFS; Sherry Lercher Davis, incoming President, JCFS; and Graciela Najenson, Development Associate, Jewish Federation of Winnipeg.
By BERNIE BELLAN
The Jewish Child and Family Service held its Annual General Meeting June 19 in the Berney Theatre.


As a rule an annual general meeting is not the place where you’re going to find out anything startlingly new about the performance of any organization. But, in perusing the financial report of the AGM several interesting trends revealed themselves.
The first is that the level of financial support from the Province of Manitoba was down substantially from 2017 to 2018: from $1,131, 768 to $1,007,214 (a drop of $124,000). I surmised that the reason for the drop was that there were fewer children in the care of the JCFS (for which the Province provides some of the funding. The Province also provides funding for other JCFS programs.)
I asked JCFS Executive Director Al Bennaroch whether that was the case and he concurred. At the same time though, he said “that’s a good sign” – that there are fewer children in care. The total amount spent on child maintenance dropped from $680,110 to $510,655.

The second trend which jumped off the page of the financial report was the huge increase in funding for Operation Ezra – the program to assist Yazidi refugees. All donations made to Operation Ezra are funneled through JCFS. The increase in revenues from 2017 to 2018 was $197,000 – from $107,763 to $303,167.
During his remarks at the AGM, Benarroch noted that Operation Ezra has now assisted 10 Yazidi families to resettle in Winnipeg. In addition, Operation Ezra provided assistance to 45 other Yazidi families that had been government-sponsored, Benarroch noted.

One page of the JCFS 2017/2018 Annual Report provided some very interesting information about where exactly its resources are allocated. As you can see from the accompanying illustration, almost 40% of the cases handled by JCFS had to do with settlement (which wouldn’t include Yazidi refugees, who would be classified as “resettlement” cases.) The proportion of activity devoted to settlement issues is a reflection of the large number of newcomers to the Jewish community who have been arriving here in recent years.
At the same time though, the amount of funding that was allocated through both the Asper Helping Hand Initiative and the Vickar Community Assistance Program was down substantially – over $22,000 in both those programs  (which are designed to help provide a springboard to newcomers).  The fact that less revenue was required for those two programs is also an indication that newcomers are  in need of less financial assistance than was the case previously.
In fact, the cost of family assistance programs altogether declined from $174,942 to $105,174,942 – another healthy sign.

In his remarks at the AGM, Benarroch also made the following points about the 2017/2018 year:
-    About 90 new families were welcomed into the community last year
-    300 volunteers gave of their time one way or another to JCFS
-    In its continuing series of programs titled “Can we talk about?” JCFS held another successful program at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, this one about anxiety
-    Ongoing programs continued in these areas: older adults, English conversation (for newcomers), weekly employment workshops, Holocaust survivors
Benarroch also said that JCFS staff had participated in several outreach conferences with other Jewish family agencies from across North America. The work that JCFS has been doing, especially of late in the area of addictions, has been taken note of by other agencies, he noted.
“Other communities are in awe of the work we’ve been doing,” Benarroch said. “Philadephia wants to know what steps we’ve taken to expand addiction services.”
In other news, Benarroch noted that the endowment which JCFS has with the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba has grown from $300,000 six years ago to $1.7 million today.
Outgoing Board President Danita Dubinsky Aziza completed her term and handed the gavel over to new president Sherry Lercher Davis.

Finally, the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg increased its allocation to JCFS for the coming year from $732,600 to $799,000. A large ceremonial cheque was handed to JCFS representatives by Federation CEO Elaine Goldstine.
We asked Elaine why the report of the Budget and Allocations Committee of the Federation has not been made public yet. That report would determine how all funds raised by the Combined Jewish Appeal will be distributed to the 12 member agencies of the Federation, along with money for operation of the Federation itself and money to be allocated to Israel. (Normally it would have been available by this time.)
Elaine said that there has been a “delay” in receiving the final report. In an e-mailed message to the community from Elaine and Federation President Laurel Malkin it was noted that the” Allocations report will be made public over the summer months and our agencies will begin receiving their distributions beginning in September.”
As soon as we receive that Allocations report we will have a detailed article in this paper.

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