CJP Announces $10 Million Commitment

to Jumpstart Endowment Effort and Respond to Immediate Coronavirus-Related Needs

Combined Jewish Philanthropies is proud to announce that it has received a $10 million gift from Candice and Howard Wolk to assist individuals and families in need, both Jewish and non-Jewish, throughout the Greater Boston community and beyond. The gift will augment the current Wolk Family Endowment for Individuals and Families in Distress, which was created as a part of CJP’s endowment program in 2013. At least $1 million of the donation will be made available immediately in support of CJP's Coronavirus Emergency Fund.

“We were in discussions with CJP about this gift prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, as we felt that helping the organization build an endowment would serve the community well over the longer term,” said Howard Wolk, who served on the CJP Board for several terms, including during the 2008-09 financial crisis. “But, with the pandemic and the immediacy of the need, we decided to pull forward some of the gift to make it available now.”

Candice Wolk noted the speed and efficiency with which CJP helped deploy the first portion of the $1 million current-use gift. 

“Within two days, the organization had assessed the needs across the community, helped develop a prioritized set of options, and got the funds out to the organizations in need,” she said. Candice also noted how CJP will be able to assist with follow-up to make sure funds are used effectively.

Among the partners receiving grants are Jewish Family & Children’s Services (JF&CS), Yad Chessed, Jewish Family Service of Metrowest (JFS), and Tiferet Raphael, a new food pantry in Brighton. Beyond the Boston Jewish community, the Wolks’ gift enabled CJP to make grants to the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund and The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) emergency campaign for the Former Soviet Union.

“This extraordinary gift addresses an increasing level of economic pain in our community,” said Gail Schulman, CEO of JF&CS. “We’ve seen the need for emergency groceries and emergency financial support triple year over year, and we know that need is only going to increase. With this contribution, JF&CS can supply a lifeline to families hit hard by the economic cost of the pandemic, lending emergency assistance with rent, utilities, and groceries.”

“This gift is a tremendous vote of confidence in CJP, and we hope it serves as a model for others who are looking to secure our future while also responding to the current crisis,” added Rabbi Marc Baker, CJP President and CEO. “It is a critical way we will ensure that we will have a thriving Jewish community for years to come, one in which no one falls through the cracks.  Our gratitude to Candice and Howard for lighting the way during very challenging times is immense.”