Andrea Steinberg State of the Agency Speech
Posted on July 13, 2015
We conclude this year with the end of the unprecedented three-year term of President of the Board Mitchell Gurwicz. Mitchell, I thank you for that and more than a decade of commitment to the JFS Board. During your presidency we have experienced incredible growth and change. From Superstorm Sandy to the recent job loss, we have been faced with multiple setbacks and remained committed to the well-being of our community. The agency has grown in service, scope and budget.
With a staff of a 130 strong, JFS is ever present. I have never seen such unwavering dedication from a group of people. Thanks to each and every one of you for your hard work.
JFS is grateful for the increased awareness and support from our donors and volunteers. Where we once talked about JFS anonymity, we now hear of the great work of JFS nearly everywhere we go. This awareness has translated to support.
When we ask for support and help, people come out. Whether it is our Point-in-Time Survey or stuffing envelopes, we can count on all of you.
As an organization, we remain focused on our mission and the needs and priorities of the community. Those needs have grown dramatically over the past year. As a result we have grown too. Our main Margate office is bursting at the seams, leading us to expanded services being offered in our new Atlantic City location as well as satellite offices at the Atlantic County Justice Complex, County Building, the ARC and Cape May.
With a budget that has doubled in size in the past few years, we have begun to build an infrastructure to match. This year we added a CFO position to the staff. With this addition we are more able to consolidate our finance, billing and data functions. This continues our preparation for a shift from contracts to a fee-for-service system.
We continue to add new programs and enhance others. JFS was awarded three new supportive housing contracts, two new grants in the older adults’ arena, which will further enhance Village by the Shore. These programs include a grant for the Retired Volunteer Service Program and a Benefits Enrollment Center for Medicare recipients. After Superstorm Sandy we built our intake department to meet the growing requests. The department is now well-structured to handle the influx of calls from people who have lost their jobs in our area. JFS is an integral part of the Coordinated Response Lead by United Way of Atlantic County to meet the growing needs since the first casino closing this past November.
Fundraising and events continue to be an area where we thrive. I am happy to report we brought the trophy to its rightful home here at JFS. The JFS vs JCC Golf Tournament was a huge success. We had 110 golfers, raised more $55,000 and had tons of fun. Cocktails for a Cause had an amazing turnout with 250 people and raised $60,000. We are now gearing up for House Tour and Card Party in August and Herb Dinner, back by popular demand, in October. Major gifts have been an area of focus. We are grateful to the generosity of so many, helping us to raise necessary dollars for critical programs where other funds are not available.
Looking ahead we are faced with both challenges and prospects. A team of us is working with the community and state entities to assure that Atlantic Homeless Alliance (AHA) is sustained. Since inception 15 months ago, 4,000 people have passed through the doors. 500 were housed, over 500 returned to their community of origin and approximately 1,000 were linked to necessary services. Twenty percent of those served by AHA are families. Community stakeholders support the program’s success.
JFS is now entering its second year of a County contract for Jail Discharge and Reentry. The program has out-performed the expectation of the Justice Facility Administration. With the addition of this program we are even more able to meet the needs of consumers.
Although there are too many programs to mention tonight, I do want to commend the fine work that the staff does in all program areas. I am proud to have such a strong group of people providing such important services. Your visibility is ever present, and I hear my sentiments echoed throughout the community.
I have been at JFS for almost nine years during this time I have seen the agency grow and thrive and rise to new levels. It is safe to say we are not anonymous. The community is aware of who we are and what we do. We are a year out from unveiling our rebranding and our evolving look is successfully reaching so many.
In Deuteronomy it says, “A Community is too heavy to carry alone.”
Thanks to the support and participation from our Board, staff and community, we are poised to meet challenges and success in the coming year.
(ask for Mitchell to join me at the podium)
I started my speech thanking Mitchell and I want to end by once again acknowledging Mitchell’s dedication and my appreciation. Please accept this gift as a token of that appreciation.