A Tradition of Humanitarianism
The Jewish people have a long history of humanitarian activity to aid both Jews and non-Jews during times of crisis. As Rabbi Hillel indicated when he posited, “If I am not for myself who am I? But if I am only for myself, what am I?” Jewish teachings point out the responsibility of Jews to help repair the world. International relief work enables Jews to put this principle into practice to help some of the most vulnerable people on the globe in their greatest time of need.
Over the past several years, the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief has been active in response to major crises in the horn of Africa, Haiti, Japan, Philippines and Nepal.
The Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief is made up of 49 Jewish agencies that have taken part in one or more Coalition responses over the past several years. In some cases, member agencies raise their own funds and/or implement their own disaster programs in addition to taking part in Coalition activities. The Coalition is coordinated by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).
Each time the Coalition determines that it will activate a response to a new disaster, a Coalition ‘mailbox’ (separate fund) is established for that particular crisis.
Funds for Coalition-supported projects are donated by Coalition member organizations and the general public. Members of Coalitions are asked to contribute a minimum of 5% of the funds raised by their organizations to the Coalition mailbox.
100% of all donated funds are used for Coalition activities.
Members of individual Coalitions meet regularly to update on the situation and allocate mailbox funds. Member agencies are invited to submit proposals to JCDR for specific programs addressing needs in the particular disaster area. Proposals are vetted and discussed in an open forum by all Coalition members and then voted upon. All members of Coalitions are given one vote.
Ensuring Quality Programs
The JCDR places great importance on making the best use of donors’ contributions by conducting relevant and appropriate responses on their behalf. Sometimes, Coalition member agencies carry out activities on behalf of the Coalition in response to a crisis. At other times, the Coalition selects local implementing agencies that have the infrastructure and expertise to carry out a response on the Coalition’s behalf.
Monitoring visits in the field are conducted by representatives of JCDR member organizations to ensure that activities have the intended impact on the targeted population(s).