The Jewish Community Relations Council and Government Affairs groups of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia made great strides in advocacy this year. Here are 10 of their top successes: (Pick up the Super Sunday phone call on Feb 21 to show your support!)
At the state, with the PA Jewish Coalition:
1) Secured a $1 million increase for the State Food Purchase Program, the first increase in 10 years.
2) Helped achieve General Assembly approval for the unanimous passage in both houses of anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) resolutions, resolutions commemorating the Holocaust and No Place for Hate resolutions.
3) Advocated for an additional $10 million for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program (pending resolution of the budget) and convinced Gov. Wolf to release the EITC letters during the budget impasse.
4) Worked with the State Department of Education to implement Holocaust education training throughout the Commonwealth. To date, 25% of schools throughout the Commonwealth have received training since the implementation of the legislation.
5) Took state legislators to Israel to learn about programs that could benefit Pennsylvania and create even closer ties between our countries.
On the federal level:
6)Increase funding for the Federal Non-profit Security Grant Program from $13 million to $20 million for FY 2016.
7) Raise $2.5 million for Holocaust survivor assistance and $120 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program in the 2016 budget, which funds Jewish community programs for families who are food-insecure and at risk for becoming homeless.
Locally, our Jewish Community Relations Council:
8) Convened a half-day conference on climate change, bringing together multiple groups in the community to focus on advocacy, education and support to better protect our environment.
9) With Women of Vision and Women’s Philanthropy groups, convened a community-wide educational forum on human trafficking and led a group to Harrisburg to advocate for improved safe harbor laws, so that anyone under 18 found engaged in prostitution may NOT be prosecuted.
10) Since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary three years ago, pressed for a comprehensive approach to ending gun-related deaths with education and advocacy, most recently urging communal support of bi-partisan legislation in Harrisburg.