CT News

Local residents with developmental disabilities receive wheelchair van, with a little help from their friends

WEST HARTFORD – When the Jewish Association for Community Living (JCL), a nonprofit that assists people with developmental disabilities, needed to purchase a new wheelchair van, philanthropists granted its wish through their funds held at the Jewish Community Foundation.

“We asked our Donor Advised Fund holders to help defray the cost of JCL’s wheelchair van and they ended up funding the entire cost of $53,000,” says Michael Elfenbaum, vice president of grant programs at the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford.

The new lift-equipped wheelchair van provides daily transportation of residents at JCL’s homes to medical appointments, community events, grocery shopping and other errands.

“Replacing our eight-year old wheelchair van was at the top of our wish list and we could not have done it without Donor Advised Fund grants from the Jewish Community Foundation,” says Denis Geary, JCL’s executive director. “We are so thankful for their support.”

The Jewish Community Foundation’s Donor Advised Fund holders support several vital programs and services for JCL residents on a year-round basis. 

“Grants from the Foundation’s generous donors have made a tremendous impact on the lives of our residents,” says Geary. “They are receiving rental assistance and adaptive equipment such as walkers, which are not always covered by insurance,” he continued. “The grants also provide therapeutic horseback riding lessons and music therapy, giving our residents with a much-needed outlet to express themselves and enjoy time with their peers.”

The Jewish Community Foundation publishes for its fund holders a Community Wish List Newsletter, which features a round-up of important projects that nonprofits hope to launch but need financial assistance. Fund holders recommend grants from their funds to their favorite nonprofits in Greater Hartford and around the world.

JCL’s wheelchair van was one of eight projects fully funded through The Jewish Community Foundation’s Donor Advised Funds. Others include: a new fence for COVID-19 related safety for the Mandell Jewish Community Center; Mental telehealth services technology; and new computers and network servers for Jewish Family Services; a strategic planning consultant and digital recording tools for virtual exhibitions for the Jewish Historical Society; and an educational program about Jews and Superheroes at UCONN Hillel.

Main Photo: JCL residents Kathy (left) and Lauren celebrate the purchase of JCL’s new wheelchair van with JCL employees Janet and Joy.

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