Federation provides educational opportunities and assistance to those in need.
Detroit is one of 150 Jewish communities in North America providing collective support for world Jewry through major overseas agencies:
- Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI)
- American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)
- World ORT – a training and education non-profit agency
These agencies implement programs worldwide that address the needs of vulnerable and new immigrant populations, and contribute in the areas of Jewish education and community-building.
In addition to this collective support, Detroit Federation’s campaign dollars support a variety of elected programs in Israel and in Kiev in the former Soviet Union:
Support of English Language Instruction
Today in Israel, English proficiency is crucial for academic achievement, opportunity for higher education and success in job placement. The Detroit Federation is taking a proactive role in piloting an English proficiency program in its Partnership2Gether region. The program trains teachers in teaching methods not currently offered by the Ministry of Education, provides additional teachers for the classrooms, and an English summer camp experience. The achievements of the students are measured- 4000 students, 4th grade through high school, are participating from 25 schools.
Interactive Classroom Initiative
Detroit Federation, in partnership with generous local donors and World ORT, supports an additional enhancement program for English study. The initiative provides “smartboards” for interactive classroom learning in 10 schools in Detroit’s Partnership region. Teacher training is also included.
Launched in 2006, the program is part of a Israel-wide intervention administered through the Jewish Agency for Israel in partnership with the Detroit Federation. The goal is to reach youth-at-risk in their primary and high school years, empower them to improve their academic skills and help break the cycle of poverty and underachievement among Israel’s most vulnerable populations. As of March 2012, Youth Futures operates in 32 municipalities throughout Israel, involving more than 10,000 children.
Small Business Assistance Program
The Small Business Loan Fund offers financial assistance to small businesses in Federation’s Partnership2Gether region in the Central Galilee. In the aftermath of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, economic hardships and social pressures began to strike at the hearts of communities across the Central Galilee region. Responding to the needs of Michigan’s Partnership region, the Federation quickly mobilized and raised $500,000 toward establishing a new Small Business Loan Fund.
Early Childhood Initiatives: PACT and New Beginnings
In 2002, Detroit Federation entered into a partnership with the American Joint Distribution Committee, the city of Netanya, other non-profit organizations and the local Ethiopian-Israeli community to improve the educational opportunities of Ethiopian Israelis. Parents and Children Together (PACT) is a city-wide intervention program for Ethiopian-Israeli children (birth to six), to provide them with the literacy skills necessary to prepare them to enter kindergarten on an equal level with their Israeli peers. This innovative effort focuses not only on the child, but also on the family, the community and the local professionals who shape these early years.
Through Detroit’s efforts, the PACT Program became an integral part of the Israeli school system in Netanya and in 2012 led to the introduction of “New Beginnings”, a national program initiated through the Israeli government, which expanded the scope of PACT in Netanya to include all at-risk children. Through “New Beginnings”, the Netanya municipality established an inter-department operation for all early childhood services, with neighborhood centers serving as the program hubs. As a result of these intervention models, Early Childhood Education is now offered to all of Israel’s pre-school aged children at no cost.
“Better Together” fosters long-term change for youth in distressed communities and builds coalitions among neighborhood residents, parents, teachers, municipal authorities and local non-profit organizations. In partnership with the American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), Detroit Federation supports the program in the Shalom neighborhood of Nazareth Illit in Detroit’s partnership region. A community center serves as the hub for social activities, holiday programming, and social services for the neighborhood’s residents.
Overseas: Detroit Federation’s Partnership with Kiev
Detroit Federation is dedicated to renewing Jewish communal life worldwide, and has a direct partnership with Kiev, in the former Soviet Union, a city with a current Jewish population of over 90,000. After the physical and spiritual devastation of the Jewish community in Kiev by the Nazis and the Communists, Federation initiated a partnership with this former Soviet Union community. Federation funds support the Jewish elderly in Kiev.