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SPRINGFIELD — Following a North American call for submissions and an exhaustive selection process, Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts has been chosen by The Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies for participation in Year Two of its NJHSA Jewish Poverty Challenge, an offering of the Network’s Center for Innovation and Research.

The goal of the program is to help NJHSA member agencies better analyze the marketplace, launch and manage solutions, and implement sustainable measures for success to address the many dynamics associated with responding to Jewish poverty.

NJHSA has partnered with Start Co., a venture development consultancy firm based in Memphis, Tennessee with an expertise in launching startup, entrepreneurial initiatives and engaging municipalities, corporations and non- profits in poverty reduction responses. The team at Start Co will provide expert consultation assistance as JFS rethinks and redesigns products and services, adjusting assumptions and organization models. And throughout, special attention will be paid to the impact of COVID-19 on service delivery methods.

“We are thrilled to have been selected for this initiative”, said Rosalind Torrey, MPH, JFS Jewish Life Enrichment Program coordinator and manager of the project. “JFS has a deep commitment to raising awareness of the issue of Jewish poverty and addressing it in new ways. Since the start of COVID 19 it has become clear that Jewish poverty in our community is both greater and less visible than we previously understood. Through this endeavor JFSWM will be able to more fully identify need, create new resources and facilitate new pathways to alleviating Jewish poverty.”

Reuben Rotman, president & CEO of the Network added that, “The COVID-19 pandemic has even further heightened the critical need for innovative solutions to the challenges of Jewish poverty. With newly vulnerable clients reaching out for assistance in unprecedented frequency, the agencies are challenged to identify new ways of working and new efforts to achieve sustainable solutions for those in need.”

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