This was the year of the pandemic, a year in which HFNJ was impelled to award most of its grants to help our community partners meet the urgent and long-term needs presented by this significant challenge to the health and well-being of their clients and staff. HFNJ’s work fell largely into three distinct categories as follows:
Covid Safety & Preparedness
Our first grants to meet urgent needs arising from the pandemic began in April 2020 and continued throughout the year. Awards covered PPE, air purification, outside tents for learning/program space, tech equipment to provide remote programming, and the like. Thirty-two community agencies received emergency funding in April, amounting to $1.1 million. Day schools, synagogues, and the local JCC were awarded a total of $330,000 to enable them to reopen safely and provided nursing oversight for programs for young children. And numerous other grantees received funding enabling them to pivot to remote programming to reduce isolation and provide much-needed services to keep clients safe and well.
In addition to smaller emergency grants in April 2020, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Saint Barnabas Medical Center, and Clara Maass Medical Center received grants totaling over $1.6 million to prepare them to meet the anticipated second wave. Funding supported the purchase of UV robotic disinfecting systems, portable x-rays, ventilators, patient monitoring systems, lab testing equipment, and facility modifications.
Mental Health Supports
The pandemic exacerbated the prevalence of depression, anxiety, substance misuse, and domestic violence among people of all ages and backgrounds. Fear of the pandemic, loss of loved ones, social isolation, job loss, and food insecurity have all been contributing factors. As a result, HFNJ dedicated a major portion of its 2020 funding to address these serious and growing issues. Grants in excess of $1.7 million went to about 20 organizations, among which were Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties ($175,000), Main Street Counseling ($170,000), Fp YouthOutcry “The HUBB” ($142,900), Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ ($151,786), Irvington Counseling Center ($100,000), and COPE, Inc. ($71,565).
SPOTLIGHT: Children/Adolescent Mental Health
From our earliest days, HFNJ has been a firm believer that a person cannot be healthy if they are not healthy in both body and mind, and that helping children overcome mental health challenges is key to their healthy development and ability to be the best they can be. In 2019, HFNJ continued its tradition of funding programs that address the mental health of children, adolescents, and young adults with the following grants:
Main Street Counseling ($210,000) and Youth Development Clinic ($109,959) to expand their work with students in Newark and provide support to teachers and families in dealing with mental health challenges; and to the Gottesman RTW Academy ($128,729) for similar work at this Randolph Jewish day school.
Children’s Specialized Hospital ($90,246) to train and increase capacity of staff to identify and support Newark children with Autism Spectrum Disorder who are experiencing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), and their families.
NJ Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) ($110,000) to partner with the Mental Health Assn of Morris & Essex to embed trained social workers into the Art Center’s “Maker”-based youth arts training and residency programs, in which students’ own experiences and perspectives drive the making of art and, at the same time, give rise to powerful emotions that arts staff are unequipped to handle without expert professional partners.
Fp Youth Outcry ($147,755) to expand its work empowering teens to overcome barriers to successful futures by confronting and sharing their emotional challenges and developing strategies for moving forward.
SPOTLIGHT: Saint Barnabas Medical Center Foundation
A $1,000,000 grant from HFNJ will support the significant expansion of the Medical Center’s Emergency Department and transform the provision of emergency care. The newly renovated space will have improved triage facilities, an expanded observation unit, and an expanded fast-track unit near the entrance. HFNJ funding supports the expansion of the observation unit from nine to 22 beds and needed mobile medical equipment.
SPOTLIGHT: NJ Citizen Action Education Fund
Support of $150,000 from HFNJ will enable the NJ Citizen Action Education Fund to continue its outreach, education, and enrollment efforts to connect people to ACA marketplace insurance or expanded Medicaid. In addition, the agency will devote considerable effort this year to preparing the public for the changeover to a NJ state insurance exchange in the fall of 2020.
SPOTLIGHT: Center for Popular Democracy/Make the Road NJ
HFNJ made a commitment to connect immigrant communities to needed healthcare with this grant of $61,100 to the Center for Popular Democracy as fiscal agent for Make the Road NJ. Funding will support the launch of Know Your Health Rights,” which will provide comprehensive workshops and individual outreach/counseling to address fears and educate Newark immigrants about their right to healthcare and strategies to deal with the impending changes in the Public Charge Rule. Funding will also enable a media campaign to reach hard-to-contact individuals.
SPOTLIGHT: Trinitas New Point Campus Renovation Challenge Grant
HFNJ has awarded a $1 million challenge grant to renovate Trinitas’ New Point Campus, which provides both inpatient and outpatient care to people of all ages with serious mental illness and those with co-occurring mental illness and developmental disabilities. HFNJ will match, dollar for dollar, all new contributions to this project up to a total of $1 million. For more information, contact Nadine Brechner, VP of Development, email@example.com
SPOTLIGHT: Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy Health Center
It was clear that the nurses’ office at the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy was insufficient to meet the needs of the school’s growing student body, providing inadequate waiting room space, too few treatment bays/cots, no bathroom, little storage for meds and other equipment, and no privacy for private conversations with students or their families.
To remedy that situation, HFNJ provided a grant in the amount of $140,000 to greatly increase the size and functionality of the space. Pictured here are HFNJ staff and trustees, along with Kushner staff and trustees, officially cutting the ribbon on the school’s new Health Center.
SPOTLIGHT: Newark Beth Israel Medical Center Maternity Renovation Project
This year HFNJ committed funding in the amount of $1,157,453 to refurbish the Beth’s A7 maternity unit and establish 20 private suites where women and their newborns can receive the highest level of care. It is envisioned that the renovation will encourage women who receive prenatal care at the Beth (and others) to choose it for delivery, taking advantage of private rooms where they, their infants, and their spouses/partners can be together. This continuity of care, private bathrooms that minimize the possibility of infection, and a program to increase breastfeeding, should positive impact birth outcomes in greater Newark.
SPOTLIGHT: Community Foundation of NJ in Partnership with the Fair Food Network
HFNJ is proud to support a pilot of the Fair Food Network’s (FFN) Double Up healthy food incentive program in our region. With Wakefern Food Corporation, a grant of $100,000 from HFNJ, and support from others, FFN will implement a technologically advanced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – formerly known as food stamps) in four area ShopRite grocery stores and participate in a groundbreaking online incentive ordering and delivery system. The goal is to pilot methods to increase the purchase and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by providing incentives at point of purchase. Recipients of food assistance in Newark and East Orange will be able to swipe their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards at two local ShopRite stores and receive a coupon when purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables to be used for a future purchase of additional fresh fruits and vegetables, up to $10 per purchase.
SPOTLIGHT: JESPY HOUSE Residence for Aging in Place
Last year, HFNJ provided funding to JESPY House to launch its Aging in Place Initiative. This pilot program was based on the happy reality that people with developmental disabilities are living longer than ever before, and JESPY staff needed additional training to best meet their needs. This year, JESPY is planning to open the first area residence for older adults with disabilities in a house donated by local philanthropists. HFNJ has awarded a grant in the amount of $212,500 to equip the Michael Och House with an elevator and continue to develop the agency’s expertise and hire additional staff with skills necessary to meet clients’ changing clinical, behavioral, and physical needs.
SPOTLIGHT: Caldwell University Graduate Art Therapy Internship Expansion
In 2017, HFNJ provided funding to Caldwell University to construct a new home for its expanding dual degree Masters program in art and counseling. The new space is creating a unique identity for the Art Therapy specialization program and its students. As a result of the enhanced learning environment and faculty engagement, the university has seen a significant increase in applications for this needed specialty. Also last year, the Clinical Coordinator negotiated contracts with four local agencies to begin site programs: Montclair Child Development in Orange, Youth Consultation Services in Orange, Daughters of Israel in West Orange, and Lester Senior Housing in Whippany. She recruited four credentialed art therapist supervisors to function as Supervisory Fellows and worked with each agency to identify an on-site supervisor for day-to-day work with the intern. In 2018, HFNJ funding in the amount of $42,460 will continue to support the engagement of qualified supervisors for the internship program. We are convinced that various populations with mental health challenges can be better served clinically through art therapy approaches than with traditional talk therapy alone. As the number of certified art therapists increases, the availability of supervisors at the agencies served should increase, obviating the need for outside Supervisory Fellows.