Together in Health: HFNJ’s July 2024 E-newsletter

June 26, 2024

In this Issue:

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Healing from Trauma, Together

On October 7, 2023, the Jewish people experienced the greatest number of violent murders in one day since the Shoah (Holocaust) which also has fostered an unprecedented rise in antisemitism. On October 23, The Healthcare Foundation of NJ released to the public a Request for Proposals (RFP) to seed new projects to strengthen the mental health and resilience of young people in the Greater MetroWest Jewish community.

The RFP had been under development for several months. The fact is that the troubling trends affecting the mental health of young people post-pandemic including social isolation, rising hate and antisemitism, depression and anxiety, have been increasing for some time. In response to this information and the recent heinous occurrence, the Foundation trustees and staff- felt moved to act based on the compelling feedback we were hearing from many of our community partners. The increased behavioral health challenges in our youth have unfortunately only gotten worse – much worse – in the months since October 7th.

HFNJ received 11 responses to the RFP; ultimately funding seven grants for a total investment of $794,289 in this initiative. Five grants were awarded in the first quarter of 2024, and we are pleased to make two additional awards (a $153,500 grant to Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy and a $150,000 grant to the Jewish Educational Center) in this second quarter.  In total, the RFP grants represent 23% of HFNJ’s total giving in the first two quarters of 2024.

Fostering new collaborations to build community-wide resilience is a major goal of the RFP, and we prioritized projects that worked across organizations and highlighted innovative best practices in the field. On May 29, 2024, we were pleased to host our first cohort of grantees at a meeting in our office to learn from one another and deepen their connections.

As youth struggle with the routine issues of adolescence, identity and young adulthood, the additional alarming challenges facing them today are not ones they—or any young adult—should have to face alone. We believe it takes a community-wide response from schools, houses of worship, non-profit organizations, and funders like The Healthcare Foundation of NJ to help these youth adjust to the new realities of the world. We hope that with our support these adolescents will gain new skills and receive ongoing assistance to become better equipped to manage their lives and become productive, engaged members of our community. We are gratified that our well-timed initiative will play an important part in helping the community heal from its collective trauma, as we continue our commitment to building a healthier future for all.


In good health,

Amy Schechner, Board Chair
Michael Schmidt, CEO/Executive Director