The Jewish Federations of North America has announced the launch of a Ukrainian Resettlement Grant Initiative to support refugees seeking safety in the United States. The new funding is in addition to the more than $70 million that JFNA has already pledged to help resettle refugees from Ukraine abroad.

“The Jewish people have been refugees in so many countries, yet we have been blessed with freedom and protection in the United States,” said Eric Fingerhut, president and CEO of JFNA. “Supporting refugees and vulnerable populations is a Jewish value, and we see it as both our duty and privilege to lend a hand to our neighbors in need, regardless of their faith or background.”

As part of this initiative, JFNA will provide matching grants to local Jewish federations nationwide to build capacity within social-service organizations to support displaced Ukrainians in their communities. Funds will help support the establishment of volunteer circles, a resettlement model in which local agencies partner with volunteers to help a refugee or family get situated in their new community. Volunteers can help refugees with finding and furnishing housing, job searching, enrolling children in school, language help and assistance with paperwork and accessing benefits, as well as cash assistance and additional forms of support.

The first grants totaling half-a-million dollars will be allocated to 10 federations, with matching funds provided by a group of philanthropists led by the Shapiro Foundation and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Boston’s Jewish federation.

The first six allocations have already been awarded to the Jewish Federation of Buffalo in New York; Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration in partnership with UJA-Federation of New York; UJA-JCC Greenwich in Connecticut; Jewish Federation of Delaware; Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta; and Greater Miami Jewish Federation. The next four grants will be awarded in the coming weeks.

The United States is expected to absorb 180,000 refugees from Ukraine, including some who were temporarily in the country before the war broke out in February.

Jewish Federations of North America partnered with the Shapiro Foundation earlier this year to help communities in their efforts to resettle Afghan refugees, based on this same model of volunteer circles. The initiative supported Afghan resettlement in 15 communities across 12 states.

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