The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation Tuesday evening celebrated a year of giving at its annual community gathering. At the event, which was held at Beth El Congregation and welcomed 1,000 people, the foundation announced it had distributed $106 million in grants this past year. The grants were made to nonprofits serving low-income and vulnerable individuals and families.
The event took place on the backdrop of a recent announcement by the foundation of an additional $4 million grant to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany to provide emergency assistance to Holocaust victims in North America. The grant, which will be allocated through 2016, supplements the $10 million, five-year grant that the Weinberg Foundation provided the Claims Conference in 2010 to help elderly Jewish victims of Nazis live out their lives with dignity. The $4 million grant will be distributed as follows: $500,000 in 2014 (in addition to the $1.5 million from the previous allocation); $2 million in 2015; and $1.5 million in 2016.
“Aging Jewish Holocaust victims, abandoned by the world in their youth, must now know that they are remembered and cared for in their final years,” said Claims Conference Executive Vice President Greg Schneider in a statement thanking the Weinberg Foundation.
Foundation President Rachel Garbow Monroe told the JT that the foundation decided to extend the grant because “it was clear to us … that not all the issues [of the survivors] would be resolved.” She explained that the initial $14 million was spread out among survivors to average a grant of $830 per person.
“That tells us we are helping roughly 16,800 individuals,” she said.
Monroe said the grant to the Holocaust survivors “fits perfectly” into the mission and heart of what the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation stands for.
“If you were in our board room, you would see a photograph of Harry and Jeanette at the time of their marriage, and it states that while others solve the ills of the world, someone will be hungry, someone sick, someone cold — that is our job.” … The single largest population we support through grants is poor, frail older adults.”
In the last year, the Claims Conference has come under scrutiny for mismanagement and allegedly facilitating fraud. Monroe said the foundation had no concerns about this — “the work they are doing with us on this emergency assistance fund is beyond reproach” — and that there are oversight and reporting requirements in place.
“They have been honorable and transparent every step of the way,” Monroe said, restating the need, as 25 percent of all survivors live in poverty and that one in three lives alone.
As much as 40 percent of all Weinberg Foundation funding remains in Maryland, and roughly half is distributed within the Jewish community. Monroe said this vision — and the Tuesday event — highlights the legacy of Harry and Jeanette Weinberg, and she also expressed gratitude to the foundation’s partners and grantees “for their exceptional, meaningful work this and every year.”
Learn more about the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation at hjweinbergfoundation.org.