Charity Contest Nominee – Jewish Family Service Crosses Faith Boundaries to Rebuild Hope to Coloradans in Need

Charity ContestCitywide Banks’ next Charity Hand-Up Contest will take place on the bank’s Facebook page from September 1-14, 2012. Jewish Family Service is one of seven nominated charities that will be spotlighted leading up to the contest. The Denver/Boulder community is invited to participate and help raise awareness for these seven Colorado causes. The charity receiving the most votes on Facebook will receive a $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks. Voters can enter to win 1 of 7 prizes.

Jewish Family ServiceOne of the biggest misconceptions about the nonprofit agency Jewish Family Service (JFS) is that it only helps Denver’s Jewish population. The truth is that in spite of its name, JFS serves all people who need assistance, regardless of race, faith, or economic status.

CEO Yana Vishnitsky stresses that the agency helps all who are in need, not necessarily only the “needy.” “I believe that everyone throughout their life can be in need, whether they are wealthy or poor. We provide the same quality of service to everyone, just on a sliding-scale fee basis.”

What makes JFS unique, says Vishnitsky, is its continuum and vastness of services, from helping children with mental health issues to serving families in crisis to providing care to seniors. Some of their programs include welfare to work, refugee assistance, friendly visitors for seniors, a food pantry and emergency financial assistance, to name just a few.

She also feels that the agency’s long history, dating back to 1872, makes JFS different from many other organizations.  JFS was established as the Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Society, meeting the vital needs of Denver’s 300 Jewish pioneers. One of its founding members, Frances Wisebart Jacobs, went on to cofound the United Way of America. Today, with more than 40 programs, JFS offers a range of services not readily available elsewhere.

Although the organization has reinvented itself over the years, its core services have remained the same. But the populations it serves have changed. For example, back in the 1940s, JFS helped resettle refugees from the Holocaust, providing them shelter, employment training and mental health counseling.

Later the agency did the same for Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees. Now they also help disabled people, those with developmental disabilities and anyone who has a barrier to employment.

“As the world has changed and more complex problems have arisen, JFS has continually reinvented itself to address the changing needs of the community,” says Vishnitsky. 

For example, as the senior population has grown and their needs have changed, so has the programming at JFS. Studies have shown that seniors prefer growing old in their own homes as opposed to moving into a senior facility. So, volunteers and social workers at JFS have created programs to help more seniors live independently and safely in their own home.

A donation of $5,000 from Citywide Banks would help JFS continue to serve the Denver community by providing more training and education for women to move from welfare to work. And, it will help feed more people in their pantry that serves about 1,600 to 1,800 people per month.

For more information about Jewish Family Service programs and ways to donate your time or money, please visit

Vote to Give Jewish Family Service a $5,000 Hand-Up
As part of its larger community outreach program, Citywide Banks is spotlighting the great work and ongoing needs of local charities around metro Denver. Based Charity Hand-Up Conteston the results of a 14-day public vote on Facebook, the community will determine how $7,500 is split among seven Colorado charities nominated by Citywide Banks employees. The charity receiving the most votes will receive $5,000 and the runner-up will receive $1,000. The remaining donation amounts will correspond to the voting results for each nominated charity. The voting public can also enter to win 1 of 7 prizes, including dinner for two at some of Denver’s top restaurants. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here.

How to Cast Your Vote – September 1-14, 2012
The voting will take place at Users will need to make sure they are logged into their personal Facebook account. If a user doesn’t have an account, it only takes minutes to set up a new Facebook account and it’s free. The online voting form will only be accessible for Citywide Banks Facebook Fans. To become a Fan, simply click on the “Like” button on top of any of the pages on Citywide’s Facebook Fan Page at Then, click on the link for the ”Charity Contest” tab to access the online voting page. Each Facebook account will permitted one vote during the 14-day voting period.

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