Jewish Family Service receives the 2021 Women’s Giving Fund grant |

Jewish Family Service receives the 2021 Women’s Giving Fund grant

Money will be used for caregiver support in Summit County

Ellen Silver, Jewish Family Service of Utah executive director, wipes a tear from her eye after the Park City Community Foundations names her nonprofit as the recipient of the Women’s Giving Fund $40,000 grant during a reception at the Red Pine Lodge Tuesday evening. The money will be used for caregiver support programs in Summit County
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

Ellen Silver felt shock and amazement Tuesday night when the Park City Community Foundation announced Jewish Family Service of Utah would receive the 2021 Women’s Giving Fund high-impact grant of $40,000.

“We were just so surprised,” Silver said. “It was humbling, thrilling and exciting.”

Silver, JFS executive director since 2004, didn’t think her organization, which offers nondenominational programs and resources for families and the elderly, fit the typical profile of past recipients that include extended day-learning organization PC Tots, anti-domestic violence nonprofit Peace House and the mentoring organization Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

But Jewish Family Services’ application, which focused on using the money to provide support groups and safety net services for those who are caring for their elder family members, especially those with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, resonated with the foundation, as well as some of those who attended the award ceremony. Even before the grant was announced, people approached Silver and thanked her for raising awareness of the issue.

“The feedback we got from people was amazing,” she said. “They told us how this issue touches everybody at some point — parents, spouses.”

Jewish Family Service of Utah will use the money to bring caregiver support programming — including mental health counseling, restorative activities, and emergency financial assistance for caregivers so that they can keep their loved ones at home — from Salt Lake City to Summit County, according to Silver.

“Caregiver support would also come in the form of lots of different things — support groups, helping families with managing care or planning care,” she said.

Other plans include opening a memory cafe, a program that uses art, music and other creative outlets to help people fight the isolation from the physical and mental issues that come with aging.

“We wanted to open a memory cafe in Salt Lake last year and one in Park City this year, but we couldn’t because of COVID,” Silver said. “So I’m hoping when it’s safer for older adults to get together, we will be able to open the program.”

Silver knows, through years of work, that caregivers experience some of the highest rates of emotional and financial stress nationwide.

“If those caregivers can’t sustain their roles, families are thrown into very difficult situations,” she said. “ I also feel family members who start caring for those who are aging in place just go into their homes and close the door and we don’t know where they are. So we hope by offering more services and reaching out into the community that we can uncover those folks and begin to offer the support they need.”

In addition to Jewish Family Service of Utah, the Youth Sports Alliance and EATS Park City were also finalists for the Women’s Giving Fund grant, and they each received $15,000 from anonymous donors who wanted to provide extra support to the runners-up.

“When women and girls in Park City come together to address some of our community’s most significant issues, we drive powerful change,” Kristi Cumming, board chair of Park City Community Foundation, said in a statement. “The $70,000 total granted today is just one example of the commitment and dedication this group of women has to support their community far and wide. These funds will have a great impact on the grant recipients and their missions.”

Youth Sports Alliance will use the $15,000 grant to expand after school opportunities for all Summit County children, while EATS Park City will use its money to increase its efforts to reach more food-insecure children in Summit County.

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