United Jewish Federation of Stamford, New Canaan, and Darien and its Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) participated in the Jewish Federation Association of CT (JFACT), a consortium of seven Connecticut Federations.
JFACT’s 2023 legislative agenda advocated for priorities important to the Federations across Connecticut and included organizing an Advocacy Day in Hartford on May 10. The JCRC is pleased to report that many of its legislative priorities are now included in the state budget. Just before the close of the Legislative Session on June 7, funding for the Curriculum Coordinator for Holocaust and Genocide Studies was included in the budget. This was a very high priority for JFACT, and members of the Stamford delegation advocated for this when they met with Representative Hubert Delaney during the Advocacy Day In Hartford. After this meeting, Delaney agreed to co-sponsor the bill. JCRC is thankful to him and all of the Federations for helping to push this legislation through.
JFACT had other victories as well. Specifically, in terms of funding for refugees, $1 million will be sent to JFACT and two other organizations to pay for a variety of services to integrate refugees into our communities. This represents new funding for JFACT and our agencies, which will hopefully yield hundreds of thousands of dollars for our programming. Additionally, $150,000 is now in the budget for programs to help new immigrants become citizens. This funding will go through JFACT to Jewish Federations, three Jewish Family Service agencies and other organizations across the state. The legislature also approved $3.25 million for “Migrant Support” which will provide a wide array of services for individuals potentially coming from the southern border.
There is a chance our agencies could see some of this funding as well. JFACT has also prioritized a Hate Crimes database and advocated for and helped to secure $150,000 in funding to the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at UConn. The Institute will develop a hate crimes database. This request was made on behalf of the Hate Crimes Advisory Council, but JFACT secured the money. JFACT lobbied for Senate Bill 970 which requires a domestic terrorism prevention plan in local emergency operations plans for every town in Connecticut. This is important legislation because we have seen the threat that domestic terrorists specifically pose to the Jewish community, and all communities in general. JFACT also successfully lobbied the Labor Committee to study the issue of equitable holidays.
It is hoped that these meetings will lead to allowing state employees to have two floating holidays. JFACT has already accepted the invitation to join the study committee along with the Department of Administrative Services, State Employee Unions, legislators, and other organizations. Also, thanks to JFACT’s lobbying efforts, the state budget now includes $15,000 for the Freedberg Kosher Food Pantry at Schoke Jewish Family Service of Fairfield County.