February 14, 2010 - The Union for Reform Judaism's Haiti Relief Fund, set up as
a central response for Reform Jews and congregations to donate to disaster
relief efforts, has surpassed $1 million in donations, of which nearly $500,000
has already been allotted to qualified relief agencies. The allocations, made to
organizations engaged in rescue work and long-term recovery efforts, underscore
the severity of the situation in Haiti.
As in the past,
the Reform Movement's historically generous disaster relief efforts have
mobilized and united congregations throughout the Reform Jewish community. So
far, more than 9,000 individual donations have been made to the relief fund;
sixty percent have been made through urj.org/haiti. Reform Jewish congregations throughout North
America have used the Haiti Relief Fund as part of their communal response to
the tragic earthquake.
Feldman, Director of Development for the Union for Reform Judaism, noted the
Reform Jewish community's overwhelming response to relief efforts. "Reaching $1
million in donations is a testament to the way Reform Jews live out their values
by supporting those most vulnerable and in need," she said. "Clergy,
congregations, youth groups, and religious schools across the continent helped
spread the word to make this relief effort a priority."
flowed in, notes accompanied them. "In the coming months I shall strive to
provide additional support through [you]," one donor wrote. "I feel that it is
important to provide this help to these unfortunate victims ... In this way,
Jews can show their compassion and concern for all of those suffering." Other
donors included stories of impromptu congregational fundraisers, young children
who donated the contents of their tzedakah boxes, and individuals on
fixed-incomes who sent as much as they could and vowed to send more when they
allocations have been made largely to direct service agencies with clinics and
relief workers in Haiti. International Medical Corps is the largest recipient so
far, receiving more than $230,000 to help establish two clinics one mobile and
the other fixed in rural areas outside Port-au-Prince. American Jewish World
Service will receive $30,000 to fully fund the Socio-Cultural Movement of
Haitian Workers' mobile clinic. The Union works cooperatively with the Jewish
Coalition for Disaster Relief to coordinate relief efforts with others raising
funds for Haiti, including the Joint Distribution Committee, American Jewish
World Service, Mazon and the Jewish Federations of North America.
allocations include Direct Relief International, UNICEF, United Israel Appeal
Canada/Isra-Aid, Mercy Corps and others. A full list, including details of
funded projects, can be found at urj.org/haiti. Further funding, to be announced in the coming
weeks, will focus on supporting long-term recovery efforts.
The Union for
Reform Judaism retains no overhead expenses for disaster relief donations, other
than direct costs such as credit card fees. Donations can be made in both U.S.
and Canadian dollars.