Grantee Highlight: KAVOD SHEF

Ensuring Dignity for Holocaust Survivors

One-third of the 80,000 Holocaust survivors in the United States live in poverty. Founded in 2015, KAVOD was established to provide emergency aid to this important population. While countless dollars go to survivors each year, millions more are required for unmet emergency needs. In 2019, KAVOD partnered with Seed The Dream Foundation to establish the Survivors of the Holocaust Emergency Fund (SHEF) to exponentially increase dollars and awareness in this space. The Sephardic Foundation on Aging (SFOA) made a single grant of $150,000 to KAVOD SHEF in 2020, and that one donation went the extra mile.

More for the Money

KAVOD SHEF represented a unique opportunity for SFOA to make the most of its grant dollars. Every dollar that goes into a National Funders account is matched by Seed The Dream Foundation. That means SFOA’s $150,000 amounted to a total of $300,000 with 100% of all dollars going to the Survivors in need. Funds raised from local communities are matched dollar for dollar, which increased the value of the donation further to $600,000.

A portion of SFOA’s contribution also was part of a special COVID Emergency grant in partnership with Seed The Dream Foundation that awarded 17 communities additional money to support urgent needs — including PPE, food delivery and case management — at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. These dollars were also critical in supporting caretaker outreach during the outbreak’s peak.

Local Community Participation

Local community organizations (Jewish Family Service and Federations) join in partnership to raise new dollars and awareness as part of the KAVOD SHEF Coalition. As soon as the survivor’s need are assessed and all primary sources are accessed, a request is made to KAVOD to fill the unmet need as a secondary resource. The aid is given directly to the provider for the emergency or, if there is a need for groceries or medication, a gift card is given.

One survivor’s dental issues became so severe that they were no longer able to eat. “Recognizing that many dental needs have exceeded any available emergency funds, we identified pro-bono dental care for survivors,” says a KAVOD SHEF agency partner. “But this couple could not get to the site, as they lived an hour away. KAVOD SHEF provided transportation for them to access the dental care they required.” 

Doing More Together

SFOA’s grant to KAVOD SHEF shows what can be achieved through collaboration. A $150,000 grant on its own would have accomplished a lot on behalf of survivors. Thanks to the generosity of Seed The Dream Foundation and local community members, that one grant allowed KAVOD to accomplish so much more.

“The pandemic forced us all to become even more innovative and efficient overnight,” says Amy Israel Pregulman, executive director and co-founder of KAVOD. “What SFOA and Seed the Dream allowed us to do was to do more together because every dollar counts and makes a difference.”

Posted August 5, 2021