Happy 100th Birthday JFCS: A Look Back

This is a guest post by Sarah Slavick at Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis.
In the early 1900s, immigrants from all over Europe came to America to build new lives. To escape persecution. To find better jobs. To provide for their families. And amid this wave of immigration to its shores, America provided help. Minneapolis was no exception.
On the evening of Feb. 9, 1910, representatives from nine community organizations gathered in Minneapolis to discuss how they might come to the aid of immigrant families here. This is how Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis (JFCS) began.
“Each of us should regard it, not only as our solemn duty, but also as our pleasure and privilege to give, in accordance with our means,” the agency wrote in its earliest report.
Today, 100 years after that evening meeting, JFCS still honors that solemn duty to help people achieve their full potential, no matter their background.

JFCS began in response to a wave of immigration in the early 1900s.

In 1910, 345 families were served with funds that provided food and shelter, a dispensary, loans, an employment bureau and a wayfarer’s home.
In 2009, more than 15,000 people received services from JFCS’s more than 30 programs that serve the Jewish and general communities.
Throughout 100 years of service, JFCS has resettled Holocaust survivors, helped the unemployed, assisted in adoptions of orphaned children, helped seniors remain independent in their homes, matched mentors with youth, educated the community about abuse, loaned much-needed funds, strengthened the Jewish connection of people with disabilities, counseled people in times of need … and so much more.
The people JFCS has helped are great in number, and they are hugely thankful. Says Holocaust survivor Reva Kibort, whom JFCS placed in foster care in 1947:

“I thank God that we had JFCS.”

Volunteers with the Hag Sameach (Happy Holidays) Program gather gifts throughout the year that are sent to families for Hanukkah.

The community is largely responsible for the work JFCS does. Hundreds give their time to JFCS through volunteering and working with the agency. Thousands donate money through endowments, membership, Mitzvah Cards and more, which enables JFCS to remain the place people come to for help. JFCS staff, volunteers and donors contribute to positively influencing the lives of others. They strengthen JFCS and the Jewish and general communities.
“We are a strong organization with exceptional staff providing the best professional service,” says Judy Halper, JFCS’s Chief Executive Officer.
With JFCS entering its 100th year, there is much to celebrate and much to look forward to. JFCS is here to serve you.
For archived photos, stories, videos and more, go to www.jfcs100.com