Jewish philanthropy

Sunrise Dawns This Summer

Staff Writer
More than 400 people participated in a recent walk-a-thon at the Henry Kaufman Campgrounds in Wheatley Heights, home of the new Sunrise Day Camp for youngsters with cancer and their siblings. Believed to be the only day camp of its kind in the United States, this six-week day camp is free of charge to participants and has already raised $1.3 million. It expects to open July 10 with between 60 and 100 children ages 31/2 to 16.

Katrina Coffers Still Full

Staff Writer
Although charities have reportedly spent two-thirds of the record $3.27 billion in disaster relief money raised for the victims of Hurricane Katrina last August, the United Jewish Communities still has more than half of the $28.5 million it raised and plans to spend it for human needs during the next two years, the organization said this week.

Ringing In The Millennium

Staff Writer
After 10 years of helping volunteers who made calls during UJA-Federation's annual Super Sunday event, Avery Goro, 15, of Oceanside, L.I., took to the phones himself last Sunday. "I made about 50 calls and raised about $2,000," he said with obvious pride. "In one call, I got a $500 pledge. I was surprised and said, 'Thank you very much.'"

Patrons Of The Heart

Staff Writer
Simy, a 75-year-old woman who was "well off" financially until four years ago, found herself alone and virtually penniless when her husband of 50 years dumped her for their 20-year-old housekeeper. "I couldn't believe he would throw away 50 years for a young kid," she says of her husband, a retired engineer. "And she had an infant. ... He's 85 years old!" Kicked out of her Queens home, Simy found a room in a private home on Long Island. "My Social Security payment covers the rent," she says.

Helping One To One

Staff Writer
For 12 years, Diane Thurer of Dix Hills has been filling boxes with school supplies and holiday treats for a poor family in Mississippi she has never met but which expresses its gratitude through letters. "It really is a commitment, but you do bring sunshine into that family's home," said Thurer of the national Box Project. "You really get back more than you give." Now a Jewish group wants to replicate that effort in behalf of the Jewish poor in Suffolk County. If successful, there are plans to extend the project to Nassau.

Making A Better Place

Staff Writer
With her 10-year-old son at her side, a disabled widow from Long Beach told a hushed group of 500 UJA-Federation lay and professional leaders that the local Jewish community center has "been there for us in the very darkest of times." "I have an immune disease called fibromyalga," explained Harriet Cohen, 46, at the annual Long Island General Assembly in Roslyn, which provides UJA-Federation-funded organizations an opportunity to display their activities.

City, Met Council Join On Senior Housing

Staff Writer
In a move to address its graying population, the city has for the first time teamed up with a non-profit agency to develop housing for middle-income seniors. The Jewish community's major anti-poverty group won the contract to build a 515-unit apartment building on Staten Island that includes an assisted-living component. "I predict the demand will be enormous,"said William Rapfogel, executive director of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. "We have many people who have expressed interest: in the city, Westchester and Long Island."

Mega-Gifts Eluding Jewish Community

Staff Writer
With government funding to Jewish organizations being slashed and Jewish federation campaigns running either flat or down, a new study has discovered that billions of dollars from the country's biggest Jewish philanthropists are going to universities, health and the arts. And the Jewish community wants to learn why. The study, by the Institute for Jewish & Communal Research, found that only 6 percent of the $5.3 billion in mega-gifts Jews donated to individual institutions between 1995 and 2000 went to Jewish institutions. A mega-gift is $10 million or more.

Shrinking Dollars, Rising Needs

Staff Writer
"It has been a blessing," the 42-year-old Suffolk County mother of four says of her monthly package of food and sundries from an anonymous group of Jewish nursery school children, their parents and teachers. Noting that she takes home only $579 a month working 30 hours a week as a data processing employee, she adds: "It's very difficult to make ends meet."

Coping With The Trauma

Staff Writer
"The children are terrified when they see a person in uniform because they saw what the Serb police did," said Renate Brand of the Kosovar refugees being resettled with relatives here with the help of the Jewish community. The refugees (39 have arrived in the last two weeks) are coming with horrific tales of Serbian atrocities they either witnessed or heard about, according to Brand, supervisor of the Kosovar resettlement program for NYANA, the New York Association for New Americans.
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