30 S. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60606
fax: 312-855-2477

Why Donate


Why donate to the JUF Why Donate to JUF

In the wake of the nation's economic downturn, a record number of people in our community are in need. Families who have never before had trouble paying their bills are coming to our JUF/Federation partner agencies for help with their mortgage, rent and utilities. Senior citizens on fixed incomes are unable to pay for life-preserving medications, and many single parents households simply are not getting by. And the demand for food assistance for Jews of all ages is spiraling beyond the current capacity of our meal programs and food pantries. Meanwhile, State and federal governments have slashed support for our local agencies and stalled payments precisely as the community's needs are growing.

Reasons to Donate


In response to the economic downturn, the Jewish United Fund launched J-HELP, a special initiative to increase community agencies' capacity to provide basic human services, particularly to newly unemployed, financially stressed middle-class individuals and families. Thanks to J-HELP, during this period of stretched resources, nearly 50,000 individuals within the Jewish community are being helped to meet basic needs such as food and financial assistance. J-HELPworks in three priority areas:

  • emergency assistance;
  • access to Jewish life; and
  • expanded social services.

Since J-HELP's creation, JUF's network of social service agencies - including Jewish Child & Family Services, Jewish Vocational Service, CJE SeniorLife, JCC, EZRA Multi-Service Center, The ARK, Maot Chitim, and the Touhy Health Center - has devoted $8.5 million in extra funds to:

  • provide hot meals, groceries and home-delivered meals;
  • coach through job searches, retooling a resume and setting up a small business;
  • help families cover rent and mortgage payments so they can stay in their homes;
  • send children to Jewish child care, day schools and summer camps;
  • supply jobs for seniors and teenagers in need;
  • offer mental health counseling and healthcare; and
  • distribute additional money to rabbinic discretionary funds for the rabbis to assist congregants in crisis.

The latest J-HELP funding is providing more emergency financial assistance for families battling the effects of the recession; more meals, Pesach packages and home-delivered meals for seniors and needy families and individuals; more life-saving medication for people who can't afford it; more scholarships to day and overnight Jewish camp for low-income families; and more ways to connect to community resources through J-HELP ACCESS.

Suffering in Israel Israel's Suffering

Since 2000, terrorists have launched more than 8,000 Qassam rockets from the Gaza Strip into Southern Israel, killing and injuring civilians, damaging homes and businesses and traumatizing citizens of all ages. Among the victims are thousands of terrorized children who suffer from nightmares, night sweats, and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

JUF has been a key player in providing aid to Israel and the embattled residents in and around Sderot, the Southern Israeli city that, until recently, endured the bulk of the missile attacks. Through our Israel Emergency Campaign, JUF has provided more than $32 million to alleviate the impact of that war of terror.

International Challenges  International Challenges

Jewish poverty is a growing problem across the globe. Poverty rates in Israel have reached a new peak, and 1 in 3 Israeli children lives below the poverty line. Fully half of the elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union do not have enough to eat.

JUF Reaching Out

Today's Critical Jewish Needs 

 It is a time of great change and uncertainty, and our community faces acute challenges:

  • 1 in 5 Chicago Jewish households sought job assistance in the last year
  • 1 in 4 Chicago area mortgages has negative equity
  • 1 in 3 local Jewish families is just managing financially or cannot make ends meet
  • 30,000 Chicago Jews lack sufficient income for daily necessities
  • 1 in 3 Israeli children lives below the poverty line
  • 1 in 2 Jewish seniors in the former Soviet Union doesn't have enough to eat
  • 2 in 3 Ethiopian-Israelis live in poverty
  • 60,000 Jews worldwide live in countries of political upheaval and anti-Semitism

 JUF Delivers Help

As a vehicle of your generosity, JUF meets these ever-increasing needs, and has kept our community whole during the economic downturn. Compared to 2008, in 2011 JUF's local agencies provided: 

  • Food to twice as many people in need 
  • Employment services to 80% more workers 
  • Triplethe emergency cash grants to families in crisis 
  • 92% morescholarship dollars for Jewish camps and early childhood programs 
  • Free or subsidized healthcare to 2,000 more Chicago area Jews