1391 Martine Ave. Scotch Plains, NJ 07076
Ph: 908-889-8800

J-Embrace - Strengthening Community Together

As a not-for-profit social service agency, we are committed to making our Wilf Jewish Community Campus an inclusive home away from home for all.  We believe inclusion is an attitude.  Inclusion is belonging.  J-Embrace is vital to fulfilling this component of our mission.

What is J-Embrace?

J-Embrace is our effort to expand and enhance our capacity to serve more vulnerable populations in our community – individuals with special needs and senior adults. In order to accommodate growing demand for programs and services for these individuals, we are embarking on a fundraising effort, J-Embrace supported by a large matching challenge grant through the PRESIDE program.

What is PRESIDE?

The PRESIDE program is designed to help Jewish non-profit organizations strengthen governance, leadership and philanthropic culture-building through the lens of Jewish values and practice. Our JCC was one of 15 organizations selected for this prestigious program, which took place between March 2018 and May 2019. The anonymous Jewish philanthropic foundation behind the program is providing a large matching challenge grant as a component of the program. The purpose of the challenge grant is to help organizations build (non-capital) capacity to meet mission.

How does the PRESIDE challenge grant work?

The PRESIDE grant is a 1:2 match on all donations $5,000 and above, e.g., for a $5,000 donation, PRESIDE will match it with $2,500. The grant deadline is July 2020, and a pledges may be paid between now and the deadline and still be matched. PRESIDE will match eligible donations up to $250,000, which means our goal is to raise $500,000 – for a sum total of $750,000 raised for J-Embrace! Donations less than $5,000 will be accepted with gratitude but will not be eligible for the match.

What will the JCC do with J-Embrace funds?

J-Embrace will enable us to further fulfill our mission and continue to focus on individuals with special needs and senior adults. Based on our experience and community research, we have identified needs that are not currently being met. Initially, the funds raised will be utilized to create two new professional positions at the JCC – a social worker who will work primarily with our senior adult population and a special needs coordinator. These professionals will provide the needed bandwidth to expand and enhance programs and services such as:

  • Day/vocational training program at the JCC for young adults with special needs
  • Expanded social/recreational programs for youth with special needs
  • Inclusion training programs for all JCC staff and volunteers
  • Caregiver support and education
  • Social isolation prevention/outreach for home-bound senior adults
  • Single seniors group

What does the JCC currently do for the special needs and senior adult communities?

The JCC has several programs specifically for children with special needs and disabilities. We offer adaptive swim classes, teen social nights out, and we have a robust and sought-after shadow program at Camp Yachad, our summer 
camp. Camp Yachad also has a job skills training program (entering its third year) for teens who have aged out of camp but still want to participate in the traditional camper-to-counselor trajectory. These teens work in camp specialty areas and also work with a job coach. The specialists with whom they work receive special “mentor” training. We are also proud to say that our philosophy of inclusion and accommodation is found in all of our classrooms – both in preschool/kindergarten and in our after school program. Our Senior Adult program provides both vulnerable and active adults social interaction, educational programming, entertainment, exercise and a healthy Kosher lunch every Monday – Thursday. For seniors who cannot get to the JCC on their own, we have regular bus transportation.

When will J-Embrace be rolled out?

The J-Embrace challenge grant runs through July 2020, and we are aiming to have new staff positions in place shortly thereafter.

We would love the opportunity to tell you more about our mission, J-Embrace, the PRESIDE matching grant and the JCC. If you would like to learn more, please contact Caren Goldberg, Director of Member Engagement and Development, at 908-889-8800 x236 or cgoldberg@jccnj.org.