407-645-5933 ext. 236 marisa.west@shalomorlando.org

As we approach the High Holy Days, TOP Jewish Foundation has focused its efforts to aid Orlando community residents most adversely impacted by the Pandemic. As the Federation’s foundation arm, TOP supports the Federation in many ways promoting philanthropy and positive impact in our community. This past month, TOP brought the concept of repairing the world very close to home as it harnessed the strength of its asset base, partnering with the Federation, Jewish Family Services Orlando (JFS) and Jewish Capital Alliance to help those in critical need of rental assistance in the Orlando community.

As a result of the economic fallout related to the pandemic, many Orlando families need help meeting their rent payments. JFS recognized the basic need to help the community and was awarded a $500,000 Housing and Community Development Grant as part of the Cares Act for rental assistance to Orange County residents in crisis. However, because all grants from the Housing and Community Development are awarded only after the funds are distributed to Orange County residents, JFS anticipated a cash flow issue and turned to TOP and Jewish Capital Alliance for assistance.

TOP assisted by opening a new fund, the JFS Orlando Rental Assistance Fund, and quickly garnered support from ten generous Orlando fund holders, including the Federation, to invest a portion of their individual TOP funds in the new fund. The new fund loaned $250,000 to JFS, which was designated for the rental assistance program. TOP fund holders will be repaid for their investment plus a nominal interest rate as soon as Housing and Community Development reimburses JFS. 

The collaboration between community organizations grew even stronger as the Jewish Capital Alliance, at the same time, committed to loan $250,000 to JFS so that JFS had no cash flow limitation and could extend the full $500,000 to residents in need.

The rental assistance program serves as a great example of how TOP can help the community using an Impact Investment, defined as an investment intended and structured to generate both a financial return and a measurable social return. “Since the investment in JFS and the rental assistance program aligns with our mission – to ensure that the Jewish community thrives for generations to come, TOP embraced the opportunity and is honored to work alongside such remarkable organizations like JFS Orlando, the Federation and Jewish Capital Alliance”, commented Craig Polejes, TOP’s Board Chair.

TOP could not think of a better way to celebrate the New Year than to have the privilege of helping those in need while collaborating with our valued organizational partners in the community.

Wishing the Orlando Jewish community a very happy, healthy and sweet New Year.