Lisa Countryman-Quiroz, CEO of Jewish Vocational Service. (Photo/Courtesy JVS)
Lisa Countryman-Quiroz, CEO of Jewish Vocational Service. (Photo/Courtesy JVS)

Jewish Vocational Service creates crisis fund to help its job-seeking clients

Jewish Vocational Service, like other Jewish organizations, has created an emergency fund for those hit hard by the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are in the process of trying to raise a million dollars over the next couple of months,” said Lisa Countryman-Quiroz, chief executive officer of S.F.-based JVS.

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As of April 14, the fund had reached just over half of its $1 million goal. Money raised will go partly toward emergency cash support for clients of the job-skills training organization who need help with bills, rent or cellphone bills.

That’s not what JVS usually does, but Countryman-Quiroz said it was about meeting people’s most pressing needs.

“That’s sort of new for us, but we think the most important thing is that we’re helping people,” she said.

The fund also will cover technological needs for JVS clients, such as laptops and WiFi, to help them keep on track toward finding employment, and training on virtual job-seeking.

“We have a workshop on interviewing through Zoom, for example,” she said.

JVS, like other organizations, is having to postpone its major annual fundraiser, an awards luncheon that has been postponed to an unspecified fall date, which makes meeting immediate needs even harder. Further fundraising may be in order after the state gets back to work, to address any economic downturn caused by the pandemic, but Countryman-Quiroz emphasized that the current effort is for the short term.

“The emergency fund is about addressing the massive increase in unemployment, right now,” she said.

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.