Help wanted: Just ten minutes of your time online will help determine the well-being of the Jewish community for years to come. Take the survey here. 

With the goal to take the pulse of the Jewish community and plan for its health and welfare needs, The Jewish Fund has partnered with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit to launch a comprehensive study to be conducted now through March 9.

Reaching out to households with adults (18+ years of age), to teens (13 to 17 years of age) and professionals working in the Jewish community’s social service agencies, the study will include focus groups and two separate online surveys available at:

Why a survey?

The initiative grew out of The Jewish Fund’s responsibility as a grantmaker to assess and re-evaluate its priorities from time to time to best determine where and how to invest its community funds. As Karen Sosnick Schoenberg, Chair of The Jewish Fund, explains, “Planning for the coming years, we realized we had never taken a critical step in the process to ask our community’s residents what their unmet needs might be. The survey results will be used to guide our planning with the goal of ensuring the availability of resources to meet the community’s health and welfare needs.

Nancy Grosfeld and Karen Sosnick Schoenberg

Leading the charge of the survey: Nancy Grosfeld and Karen Sosnick Schoenberg. (Feature photo at top of page from left to right: Linda Blumberg and Margo Pernick with Nancy and Karen.)

As a legacy of Sinai Hospital, established from the proceeds of its sale in 1997, The Jewish Fund continues the tradition of assuring compassionate care for those in need in Metro Detroit by awarding more than $3 million in grants annually to organizations working to improve the health and well-being of the community.

“We have a lot of information about the need for services from the 17 partner agencies that we help fund annually, as well as from the many non-Federation organizations that we support,” observes Linda Blumberg, Federation’s Director of Planning. “Our decisions are based on what we see, what our agencies tell us and what we know from experience to be certain needs in the community. It’s one thing to talk to the agencies; it’s another to really get from people themselves what their issues are. One of the purposes of the survey is to learn what we might be missing and to hear it directly through an open community forum where a diverse audience is fully represented.”

Covering the bases

“We are casting a wide net with this effort to get a large sampling of respondents to the survey,” observes Margo Pernick, Executive Director of The Jewish Fund. “We are reaching out to every relevant organization that serves our Jewish community: our rabbis and congregations, our Jewish schools, staff members from Federation agencies and non-Federation agencies alike, teen groups and Jewish residences for older adults. We view the survey as a two-way street, a means not only to hear from those individuals who are getting services from the Jewish community, but also from those who aren’t and need assistance for themselves or a family member.  The survey is a way to open the conversation and educate people who may not be aware of the full range of services that exist.”

Measurable results

To design and facilitate the community study, a task force comprised of leaders of The Jewish Fund and Federation worked with Morpace, an international research and consulting firm based in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The study is funded through a grant from The Jewish Fund.

“By aligning with a leading research partner we can be confident that we are getting representation across the population in a well-conceived study that meets scientific rigor and will yield results we can use proactively,” observes Todd Krieger, Federation’s Associate Director of Planning. “Similar to population studies that we’ve done in years past, the projections and decisions that will grow out of the survey will be based on community input.  Having data in hand to substantiate or disprove our assumptions is the best way to ensure we have the right programs and services in place to serve the community today, tomorrow and well into the future.”

Jewish Detroit’s community study is a first of a kind. “One of the avenues we explored was to see if any similar studies had been done in Jewish communities throughout the Federation’s national system,” added Linda Blumberg. “We found that no similar assessment currently exists, and that we are possibly paving the way for a model that other communities may use.”

Results of the study will be published in May. All information will be made available as a public service to agencies and foundations throughout the community.

Why a separate teen survey?

Agencies such as Jewish Family Service, JVS, BBYO and Tamarack Camps are growing more aware of the rising need for additional services focusing specifically on the health and well-being of teens in the Jewish community.

As Margo Pernick observes, “When you look at what’s going on in the country, in our community and in our high schools today, I’d say we’ve reached a crisis point in terms of how we respond to the issues of anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicide prevention among our young  people. To understand more fully what support our teens need, it’s best to go directly to the source and ask them. As we have discovered in our recent work with the Teen Board of The Jewish Fund, when you empower teens to take part in community decisions with their peers, they respond in invaluable ways.”

Given the tools of an anonymous survey online, teens are invited to participate in a comfortable space – one that sends a powerful message to them that the Jewish community is listening to their voices and working to respond.

 Counting on the community for answers

Reflecting on the purpose of the study, Nancy Grosfeld, Vice Chair of The Jewish Fund, shared, “We anticipate that many of the answers from the survey will confirm the need for more services, but more than likely, there will be surprises. We’re counting on a robust community response to the survey to glean new insights into the ways our agencies can deliver, promote and expand their services for the benefit of more individuals and families today and over the years to come.”

To learn more about the community-wide Survey of The Jewish Fund and Jewish Federation, please visit the link at Morpace, available now through Wednesday, March 9, 2016. Give yourself 10 minutes to complete the survey in one sitting.

The request is one adult and one teen per household. All information that you provide is anonymous and only will be used for research purposes. Those without internet access are invited to participate by phone by calling Morpace at 1-877-892-4006. Ask for Jenny who will conduct a phone survey.

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