JF&CS receives grant from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield for SOS Pittsburgh

The sheer number of poor households in our nation and in our community is alarming, but also of great concern is the large number of individuals and families who are making ends meet, but do not have any extra resources to weather a crisis. They are living on the edge of poverty.

One of the greatest challenges is to reduce the threat to these individuals and families of falling into poverty; because once they lose their independence, it is much harder to regain it.

We’re meeting this challenge head on with SOS Pittsburgh.

SOS Pittsburgh serves as a critical safety net, helping these individuals and families to maintain their footing in the face of an overwhelming economic obstacle.

At the core of SOS Pittsburgh is comprehensive social service work to understand client issues and come up with a plan to address them. Our SOS Pittsburgh social service and critical needs coordinator, Claire Burbea, will connect clients with all applicable community resources and when no other resource is available, will petition the SOS Pittsburgh committee for a one-time grant to avert crisis. The committee is comprised of a group of dedicated community volunteers which, under the chairmanship of Barbara Shapira, thoroughly evaluates each case presented and makes funding recommendations.

SOS Pittsburgh was established in 2005 with the help of Edgar and Sandy Snyder and, over the years, also has been supported by several major funders (including the Fine Foundation, Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Ladies Hospital Aid Society, Linda & Stuart Nord Foundation, Melvin & Sylvia Solomon Charitable Trust through the PNC Charitable Trust Grant Review Committee, Sylvia & Martin Snow Charitable Foundation and The Pittsburgh Foundation), as well as donations from individual community philanthropists.

Our most recent grant comes from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield awarded JF&CS $10,000 to provide funding for SOS Pittsburgh one-time grants, which average around $1,100 per case.

Accepting Highmark's $10,000 check presented by Highmark's Community Affairs Director, Mary Anne Papale (center) were (l-r) SOS Pittsburgh Founders Edgar & Sandy Snyder, SOS Pittsburgh Director Becky Abrams and JF&CS President & CEO Aryeh Sherman.

We are extremely grateful to Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and other SOS Pittsburgh funders for their trust in JF&CS as an organization through which they can make a difference in the lives of those who are in need.

I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch our SOS Pittsburgh video. It provides a comprehensive and compelling portrait of the difference SOS Pittsburgh makes in the lives of those in danger of losing their independence and who have no place to turn for help.

If you would like to support SOS Pittsburgh, donations can be made online (designate SOS Pittsburgh in the Program Designation drop down) or through the mail. I also encourage you to contact our marketing and fundraising director Laurie Gottlieb for more information on SOS Pittsburgh and giving options.

And, if you know of an individual or family facing crisis, please encourage them to call us. For almost 75 years, JF&CS has been helping community members deal with challenging lifecycle transitions and crisis through our many programs and services. That is why we are here….

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