“If not now, when?”
This question, posed by the ancient Jewish sage Rabbi Hillel, remains as relevant today as when it was first expressed more than two millennia ago—and it serves as an enduring call to action for Jewish Family Services.
Supporting the community since 1908, Jewish Family Services is committed to helping individuals and families achieve economic self-sufficiency and emotional stability. The organization was originally founded to assist newly arriving Jewish refugees who were settling in central Ohio to meet their basic needs, such as food, housing, and employment. Over the years, Jewish Family Services has evolved to serve a diverse client base that includes both Jewish and non-Jewish communities throughout the region.
CEO Karen Mozenter accepts The Columbus Foundation Award on behalf of Jewish Family Services.
Karen Mozenter, CEO of Jewish Family Services, credits the organization’s longevity and impact to its dedicated and diverse board, staff, and volunteers who’ve built trusted relationships in the community.
“When people come to us, they’re facing challenges in their lives, and it is not easy to ask for help,” said Mozenter. “So, when they walk through our doors, we make sure they’re working with people who understand and reflect their backgrounds, their cultures, and the languages they speak. We offer a caring and compassionate environment that preserves our clients’ dignity and empowers them to achieve their personal goals.”
Jewish Family Services helps people find good jobs; supports older adults and caregivers in navigating the challenges of aging; extends critical services for refugees entering the United States; connects people to community resources; empowers family self-sufficiency through financial counseling; and provides opportunities for volunteers to give back. Last year, Jewish Family Services helped 600 people get jobs, which generated an annual combined income of $26 million.
“When people come to us, they’re facing challenges in their lives, and it is not easy to ask for help. So, when they walk through our doors, we make sure they’re working with people who understand and reflect their backgrounds, their cultures, and the languages they speak. We offer a caring and compassionate environment that preserves our clients’ dignity and empowers them to achieve their personal goals.”
Karen Mozenter, CEO of Jewish Family Services
“So often, nonprofits like Jewish Family Services are viewed as do-gooders—and we do a lot of good,” explained Mozenter. “But we’re also economic engines, and that’s important, too.”
In recent years, Jewish Family Services has significantly expanded its services to older adults and their families, including local Holocaust survivors. In 2022, Jewish Family Services assisted nearly 200 survivors of Nazi persecution with case management support, home care, and socialization opportunities, empowering them to age in place and live out their lives with dignity.
The Columbus Foundation has awarded multiple grants to Jewish Family Services, primarily as the organization provides integrated workforce development, counseling, case management, and family stabilization services. Additionally, Jewish Family Services was one of seven nonprofits to benefit from The Columbus Foundation’s Critical Need Alert, “Our World, Our Community,” which provided immediate financial resources to help partnering nonprofits provide resettlement services to refugees in central Ohio.
“For more than a century, Jewish Family Services has been a compassionate source of care, support, and hope in our community,” said Dan Sharpe, Vice President for Community Research and Grants Management at The Columbus Foundation. “Through its many programs and services, Jewish Family Services has lifted up thousands of individuals and families, helping our neighbors achieve economic self-sufficiency, improve their well-being, and live their lives with dignity.”
In recognition of the vital role the organization plays in bringing stability to immigrants, refugees, Holocaust survivors, older adults, job seekers, and others in our community, Jewish Family Services has been selected as the 2023 honoree of The Columbus Foundation Award. As part of the award, Jewish Family Services will receive a $100,000 unrestricted grant from The Columbus Foundation.