JUF and agency leaders in Washington, D.C. on a two-day advocacy mission.
On April 28-29, 21 JUF executive staff, agency professionals, and volunteer leaders participated in the annual Agency Mission to Washington, D.C.
During the two-day fly-in, community leaders met with policymakers to discuss domestic policy issues important to JUF and its affiliated agencies and the people they serve. Participants attended briefings and had conversations with Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and the entire Illinois House delegation to stress the importance of protecting funding for health and human services programs that serve the most vulnerable populations. Mission participants also advocated with congressional committee staff and with senior officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"Meeting with policymakers is critical to our efforts," said David Goldenberg, Federal vice chair of JUF's Government Affairs Committee. "JUF and our affiliated agencies depend on strong policies and continued funding support from the federal government. Without it, our ability to meet the health and human services needs of Chicago's Jewish and broader community would be significantly limited, and that was the message we delivered in Washington."
Also on day one, JUF hosted a reception for the Illinois congressional delegation and mission participants. Reps. Cheri Bustos, Rodney Davis, Bob Dold, Tammy Duckworth, Bill Foster and Jan Schakowsky attended and reaffirmed their commitment to the Jewish community and the issues it cares about.
On the second day, members of the Illinois House delegation heard from mission participants about the importance of preserving Medicare/Medicaid, the Social Security Disability Insurance program, and reauthorizing the Older Americans Act with provisions that will help Holocaust survivors.
"Our agency professionals continue to present a compelling narrative about the strength of our network of services and the effectiveness of how we leverage the combination public and private philanthropic dollars," said David Golder, chair of the Government Affairs Committee, who led the mission along with Goldenberg. "Our regular presence in Washington, D.C. is essential to continue to strengthen our relationships and reinforce the importance of continued government support."
Participants included representatives from CJE SeniorLife, JCFS, the Sinai Health System and Keshet, who provided important information and specific examples of how congressional proposals to cut funding would have serious consequences for the people they serve.
"This mission offered a great opportunity to meet with members of the Illinois Congressional delegation, key Republican and Democratic congressional committee staff, and Administration officials," said Mark Weiner, president and CEO of CJE SeniorLife. "Given our history of innovation, service to the community and partnership with government, and using our collective voice, JUF and its affiliated agencies were able to deliver an important message calling for robust resources to support health and human services programs. A big thanks to JUF staff for their efforts."
Members of Congress also expressed their appreciation for the partnership of JUF and its agencies.
"It is always good to meet with members of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago who are working so hard every day to improve our community," said Rep. Schakowsky. "So many of my constituents rely on the quality services that the Federation provides - and I appreciate partnering with the Federation to get the resources needed to continue to get the job done."
Rep. Bob Dold also expressed enthusiasm for meeting with mission participants. "I always enjoy meeting with JUF advocates and was especially grateful to learn about services JUF provides to Holocaust survivors through programs authorized in the Older Americans Act," he said. "Thank you to JUF for continuing to help people in need."