Your Dollars at Work - Federation Goes to Washington

In 2013, your Federation dollars supported important legilisative efforts at the national level. As a resounding voice on behalf of the Jewish community, the Jewish Federations of North America's Washington office works tirelessly in promoting policies, programs and practices that benefit our Jewish community. Each year, JFNA’s Washington office establishes public policy and program priorities that reflect the needs and concerns of the Federations and their beneficiary agencies on an array of issues.

William Daroff, VP of Public Policy at JFNA said "JFNA and our partners – including advocates representing a broad range of Jewish communities, religious streams, social service providers and public policy organizations – work day in and day out with policy makers on Capitol Hill and in the Obama Administration to further the goals of our communities."



William Daroff, VP Public Policy - JFNA

In spite of the political stalemate and divisiveness within the US Congress this past year—the most notable manifestation being the 16-day partial shutdown of the federal government—JFNA succeeded on a number of noteworthy fronts and laid the foundation for additional achievements in 2014. These successes came about through the confluence of direct advocacy, collaborations, and synergies, including significant efforts by the Federation field to advocate with elected officials. Read about these accomplishments below - click for more information!







Summary of 2013 Domestic Policy Accomplishments

Health, Aging, and Long-Term Care Services











  • JFNA introduced the Responding to the Urgent Needs of Survivors of the Holocaust Act and created a new partnership with the White House to address the needs of Holocaust survivors living in poverty in the United States.
  • JFNA positioned itself this year as a vocal proponent for cost-effective reforms to the Medicare and Medicaid programs that enhance the quality of care, and several of JFNA’s recommendations were in fact included in the Federal Commission on Long-Term Care Report to Congress.
  • JFNA played a leading role in securing the introduction of the Behavioral Health Information Technology Act, which would authorize government programs that offer financial incentives to create electronic healthcare records and improve communications among providers.
  • With JFNA support, the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation to permanently repeal physical, speech, and occupational therapy caps within the Medicare program. In the interim, the budget agreement that Congress is set to consider includes a three-month moratorium on such therapy caps.
  • With JFNA support, the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation to bolster community mental health providers, such as Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies.

Charitable Giving & Incentives



  • Regular lobbying by JFNA-prepared Jewish groups at White House meetings contributed to a new willingness on the part of the Administration to “compromise” and “potentially abandon” its proposal to decrease the tax deductibility of charitable contributions.
  • JFNA lobbying helped to secure the extension of the IRA charitable rollover through the end of 2013, resulting in over $10 million in additional rollover contributions to Federations this year.

Disability Inclusion and Independence





  • JFNA made it a priority to introduce the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2013, which would create private savings incentives for people with disabilities and their families.
  • JFNA is one of the leading faith-based organizations advocating in the Senate for ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Partnering with the Ruderman Family Foundation, JFNA established a new matching grant program to create employment opportunities for young individuals with disabilities at JFNA and five Federations nationwide in 2014.

Disaster & Emergency Relief and Protecting the Economically Vulnerable





  • In 2013, JFNA led efforts to secure an additional $10 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, $9 million of which was awarded to enhance the physical security of Jewish communal institutions in 21 high-risk areas across the nation.
  • JJFNA maintained its leading role in advocating for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program’s annual allocation, helping to avert a $20 million cut in the program.
  • During the past calendar year, the JFNA Emergency Committee’s top priority remained responding to Superstorm Sandy, including $2.6 million in aid.


Federal Budget & Appropriations




  • JFNA was vocal all year against certain across-the-board cuts mandated by Sequestration. At year’s end, Congress agreed to a modest budget deal that will provide a two-year, short-term relief to the cuts, which may help to alleviate some of the more devastating cuts to safety-net programs.

 Advocacy & Capacity Building Initiatives





  • In 2013, JFNA launched the “HSPP Ambassador Program,” which brings trained lay leaders to communities to hold interactive discussions about domestic human service needs and trends and the work of JFNA’s Washington office.


William Daroff, Vice President for Public Policy and Director of the Washington Office of the Jewish Federations of North America, is a leading advocate for the American Jewish community’s agenda in the nation’s capitol. As the chief lobbyist and principal spokesperson on public policy and international affairs for the 154 Jewish federations and more than 300 independent communities, Daroff ensures that the voice of Jewish federations is a prominent force on Capitol Hill and in the Executive Branch. He can be found on Twitter at @Daroff




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