Let’s face it. We all want to send our kids to an enriching, Jewish summer experience. However, sometimes these programs aren’t in a family’s budget. Many synagogues have scholarships and stipends available for programs within their respective movements. The Aaron Family JCC has a camp scholarship program and BBYO has scholarships available for most of its programming.
The following are three additional resources to consider.
Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association
The Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association offers a Jewish Heritage Loan which includes, among other Jewish experiences, Jewish summer camp. The DHFLA recognizes that Jewish camp is an essential experience in the formation of a strong Jewish identity. Whether students attend day school or public school, if their families are affiliated or not, have disposable income or they are on a tight budget, DHFLA wants all Dallas Jewish children to have this valuable experience. Overnight camp in particular is very impactful, but can be quite costly. DHFLA offers a $3500 loan and generous terms. With three years to repay the loan, payments begin one month after loan receipt and are payable in equal monthly installments.
The Jewish Heritage Loan was created to enhance the Jewish experience of members of the Dallas Jewish community. The loan may be used to cover expenses that help connect to one’s Jewish identity such as a trip to Israel, bar/bat mitzvah celebration, youth group conventions, etc. For more information, call 214-696-8008 or visit the DHFLA website at http://dhfla.org/apply-for-a-loan/jewish-heritage-loans-rules-guidelines/.
Dallas Jewish Community Foundation
The Essie and Reuben Rosenbloom Jewish Overnight Camping Fund of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation is a special, need-based scholarship to assist Dallas Jewish children entering grades 3-8 in the fall of 2019 who otherwise would not have an opportunity to attend Jewish overnight camps. Since the creation of this fund, more than 300 campers from Dallas, Denton or Collin counties have been able to attend camp. The unique feature of this scholarship fund is that both the applicants AND the review committee are anonymous, meaning the committee reviews the applications after all personal information has been redacted and members of the committee are known only by a select group of DJCF staff members. Even the DJCF chairman of the board does not know who the committee members are. This high level of confidentiality is to ensure the families can maintain their pride while requesting scholarship assistance. To be eligible to apply for a scholarship, a family must demonstrate financial need and the eligible camp must be a nonprofit overnight residential camp affiliated with a Jewish organization in the United States. DJCF welcomes all applicants who fit the need, age criteria and eligibility requirement. Repeat applicants will be considered, with priority given to first-time campers. The application will close March 6, with notification in early April. For the application and more information, visit www.djcf.org.
Jewish Children’s Regional Service
Southern Jewish families seeking financial assistance to send their children to Jewish overnight camp, and families in search of funds to pay the costs of undergraduate college education, have a special friend in the Jewish Children’s Regional Service (JCRS), the oldest and only regional Jewish children’s social service agency in the United States.
Primary qualifications to apply, and receive consideration for assistance, are relatively simple. First, the family must live within the seven-state service region, which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The family must also provide requested financial information and documentation, as the primary factor in approving any amount of aid is financial need.
The overnight camp scholarship deadline for the summer of 2019 is Feb. 15, and the undergraduate college aid application for fall 2019 is May 31. Applications received after those dates will be considered, but will fall into a lower range of priority than those received by the published application deadlines.
JCRS typically receives 450-500 applications, each year, just for these two programs, and has provided annual funding to approximately 450 of the applicants. In all seven JCRS programs, combined, more than 1,600 unduplicated Jewish youth receive annual funding, and more than 1700 are served. Many youth served are from single-parent or grandparent-led families, or possess family members with serious health, mental health, unemployment or disability concerns.
The JCRS website, www.jcrs.org, contains information on all of the JCRS programs and provides applications that can be sent electronically back to the JCRS office. The headquarters address is P.O. Box 7368, Metairie, LA 70010-7368 and phone is 800-729-5277 or 504-828-6334. The $1,600,000 annual budget of JCRS is supported primarily through general donations, as well as from the annual income that results when dedicated scholarship funds are created by donors, past aid recipients and JCRS “success stories.”