A look back at 2020

As 2020 winds down (it can't come soon enough), we know things unfortunately are going to get worse during the holiday season. Tragically, we will see an increase in the number of cases and deaths. The good news is there are better treatments to fight COVID-19, as well as vaccines on the way, which will cut transmission. With these vaccines, more schools will be able to move toward reopening, and the economy will slowly work to get back to “normal.” However, too many have died from COVID-19, perhaps even someone you know, many families will be changed forever, and people who lost jobs may have difficulty finding new employment approaching their prior salary and benefits. I only hope our economy will recover sooner than later and that the coronavirus will finally be in our rearview mirror.

Many in our community have stepped up over the past nine months, and for this I say thank you. Whether you contributed to our Emergency Relief Campaign or donated to our 2020 Annual Campaign (which is the engine that drives everything Federation does in the community), we all played a role in combatting the worst pandemic that swept across the globe in over 102 years. 

Though 2020 had its downs, it’s certainly had its triumphs, as well.

  • Our community came together and raised over $250,000 in much needed funds during our Emergency Relief Campaign from individual donors, businesses, and foundations.
  • We awarded over $120,000 to Valley organizations in an emergency round of funding from the Thomases Family Endowment.
  • Jewish Family Services and the Jewish Community Center launched a hotline to connect people with mental health assistance and other resources, including helping people with shopping and picking up medications.
  • We offered childcare for essential workers at the JCC from the beginning of the shutdown, including our employees from Heritage Manor and Levy Gardens.
  • We partnered with Direction Home of Eastern Ohio and prepared/delivered over 3,500 meals a week to those 60 years of age or older, redeploying some of our staff at the JCC.
  • Heritage Manor and Levy Gardens helped families of residents and tenants connect with their loved ones through virtual visits via Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype.
  • We successfully reopened the JCC in late May, as well as summer camp and our Logan Campus in early June, in compliance with guidelines set by the State of Ohio and the Department of Health.
  • We opened the Paul and Yetta Gluck School of Visual Arts with both virtual and in person classes.
  • We began offering a wide variety of virtual programs: Early Learning Center learning opportunities, fitness, music, and dance classes, art classes, meditation and yoga classes, and more.
  • JCRC co-hosted a Census 2020 Stakeholder’s meeting and hosted a voter registration drive on National Voter Registration Day.
  • JCRC worked closely with local and national African-American Communities on crucial initiatives following the murder of George Floyd.
  • JFS continued with its Life Stories program, an intergenerational project to improve the health and quality of life for its clients.
  • As the school year began in the fall, we opened All Day Care for students who are learning virtually for all or part of the school week.
  • Premier Bank donated $5,000 to the JCC, as a thank you gift for the work we do for the community.
  • Federation was chosen as a COVID-19 Hero by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Mahoning-Shenango Chapter.

I wish I could say that I have a crystal ball and everything will be back to “normal” at some point in 2021, but I don’t. But I can say with 100 percent certainty that I am honored to work with such a tremendous staff that has worked tirelessly since the pandemic began. And I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the commitment of our lay leadership and all members of our boards and committees.

Looking ahead to 2021, we have learned a lot from our many virtual programs and Zooms and hope to be able to incorporate some of that into future live events and meetings, meaning members of our community who no longer live in the area or winter elsewhere will be able to join us virtually!

I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah, and please stay safe!


Andrew Lipkin
Chief Executive Officer, Youngstown Area Jewish Federation



A Look Back at 2020

Posted by: Andrew Lipkin on Tuesday, November 24, 2020
As 2020 winds down (it can't come soon enough), we know things unfortunately are going to get worse during the holiday season. Tragically, we will see an increase in the number of cases and deaths. The good news is there are better treatments to ...

Looking Back at 35 Years with Federation

Posted by: Andrew Lipkin on Monday, October 26, 2020
This month, on November 18, I will celebrate my 35th anniversary with the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation. Much has changed in our local community since Hilari, Sean, and I arrived from Long Island. (Rachel is a Buckeye and born here in 1991.) ...

Acting with Hope, Faith, and a Deep Belief in Our Core Values

Posted by: Lisa Long on Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Note from Andy: This month, in place of my regular column, I invited Federation Financial Resource Director Lisa Long to share her thoughts During these challenging times, I have chosen to continue to see the glass as half full, searching for ...

New Year Reflections

Posted by: Andrew Lipkin on Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Sundown on Friday, September 18 marks Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year of 5781. Millions of Jews around the world would usually congregate for the beginning of the High Holy Days. As Jews we celebrate the New Year in many different ways, but this ...

We Need to Talk About Systemic Racism

Posted by: Andy Lipkin on Thursday, July 23, 2020
Following the murder of George Floyd, the Federation released a statement. (You can read it in its entirety in the July Jewish Journal Monthly Magazine). As Federation president Rick Marlin and I said at the time, “We are heartbroken and ...

Why We Need to Talk About the Coalition Agreement Between Netanyahu and Gantz

Posted by: Bonnie Deutsch Burdman on Friday, June 26, 2020
Note from Andy: This month, in place of my regular column, I invited Federation Director of Community Relations/Government Affairs Bonnie Deutsch Burdman to share her thoughts regarding current affairs in Israel. While all of us in the Jewish ...

Laughter, Love, Help, and Hope

Posted by: Andrew Lipkin on Thursday, May 28, 2020
On May 14 we held our first ever virtual Youngstown Area Jewish Federation event. We were able to showcase the ways our agencies are responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Though we couldn’t be together, it was still a wonderful evening of ...

We're Still Connected

Posted by: Andrew Lipkin on Thursday, April 23, 2020
The current COVID-19 crisis has changed the way we do things – both personally and professionally. But what it hasn’t changed is our connection to one another. We must keep physical distance, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be ...

Federation Serving Our Community

Posted by: Unknown on Tuesday, April 7, 2020
What has not been written about the coronavirus? Our lives will NEVER be the same, but how we deal with this virus will forever define generations to come. It reminds me of the 1962 song by Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” which ...

We're Here for the Community

Posted by: Andy Lipkin on Friday, March 20, 2020
March normally brings about the promise of Spring, the excitement of the NCAA basketball tournament, and preparation for Passover. Instead, this year, we find ourselves grappling with the uncertainty of what will happen in the coming weeks and days. ...

Continuously Improving

Posted by: Andy Lipkin on Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Youngstown Area Jewish Federation is the umbrella organization overseeing our local agencies, namely the Jewish Community Center, Heritage Manor, Levy Gardens, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and Jewish Family Services. Together we’ve ...

Celebrating 34 Years with Federation

Posted by: Andy Lipkin on Tuesday, November 19, 2019
On Nov. 18, I celebrated my 34th anniversary with the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation. When we arrived in the Valley in 1985, my wife Hilari and I, along with our one-year-old son Sean, found a Jewish community and Federation that has become an ...

One Year Later

Posted by: Andy Lipkin on Thursday, October 24, 2019
It seems hard to believe it’s been a year since 11 innocent people lost their lives in the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life building in Pittsburgh. It’s even harder to believe we’re still facing threats of violence against ...

Reflection and Renewal

Posted by: Andy Lipkin on Thursday, September 26, 2019
Personally, I’m reflecting on the major challenge in my life over the past year. I would never have guessed 2019 would bring heart surgery for me. But it did. That was a scary and emotional time. But the past year also brought my daughter ...


December 20, 2019 (Get Up, Dress up, Show Up, and Never Give Up)

November 19, 2019 (34 Years at the Federation)

September 26, 2019 (Reflection and Renewal)

August 24, 2019 (Security is Critical Issue)

July 25, 2019 (Summer's Winding down)

June 24, 2019 (Exciting Changes at JCC main and Logan Campuses)

May 23, 2019 (Thank You For Your Support)

April 23, 2019 (Holocaust Education Important Part of Federation's Work)

February 22, 2019 (Jewish Family Services Offers Much-Needed Services)

January 24, 2019 (Take A Tour With Me)

December 18, 2018 (Supporting Family)

November 20, 2018 (With Your Help, Federation Agencies Can Work Together to Benefit Families)

October 29, 2018 (Personal Reflections of A Tragedy)

October 15, 2018 (Without Federation...)

August 30, 2018 (Changes at Federation and Its Agencies)

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