Hebrew Free Loan gets matching grant

The Jewish Funders Network has awarded a $35,000 matching grant to S.F.-based Hebrew Free Loan for its new nonsectarian student loan program.

The award came from the New York–based JFN’s $1 million Jewish Social Change Matching Fund, which was created in partnership with seven large foundations, including the S.F.-based Walter and Elise Haas Fund.

Having already raised more than $250,000 for its new nonsectarian loan fund, Hebrew Free Loan was happy to receive the $35,000 matching grant, said Jordan Gill, the agency’s development director. No agency received a grant of more than $50,000.

“The funds being matched are new gifts that would not have come into Hebrew Free Loan if not for this new program,” Gill said. “This is new money, not to be commingled with our traditional funds.”

The new HFL fund provides interest-free loans to low-income college students regardless of religious affiliation. It is the first large-scale nonsectarian program in the agency’s 115-year history, and Gill said it has “had a lot of success in finding new supporters.”

JFN announced this month that 16 organizations had received matching grants, including the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Keshet and NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change. According to JFN, the grantees “were selected from a highly competitive application pool because of their impressive work elevating social change to the center of Jewish life and advancing an explicitly Jewish framework for issues including poverty and hunger, civil rights, the safety and security of women, and the environment.” — j. staff