None of us know what life is going to throw in our path. For young people who have experienced loss, trauma, a bad medical diagnosis or other difficult life events, hope comes in the form of the Sandra L. Schnitzer Resilience Fund—a new permanent Named Endowment Fund of Jewish Family and Children’s Services.

The fund, which has been thoughtfully founded by Sandra L. Schnitzer of San Francisco, will pioneer a specialized model of compassionate assistance to help children, teens, and young adults up to age 25. Individual grants will magnify and enhance the expert services already available through JFCS’ Center for Children and Youth by connecting young people with the assistance that would be otherwise unavailable. From needed medical treatment to counseling to educational opportunities or special camperships, each young person will have access to the help they need to find success in life after facing great hardship.

Initiatives focused on children often end at age 18, but Sandra Schnitzer knows that the challenges of growing up do not end there. That’s why she has made the groundbreaking decision to assist young people during their formative and often overlooked years of 18 to 25. Young adults, at the crux of forming their identities and making crucial life decisions, are more likely to experience mental health challenges than other age groups. They have also been hit especially hard by this year’s pandemic. Through the Sandra L. Schnitzer Resilience Fund,  children and young adults up to age 25  will have somewhere to turn.

Thinking Outside the Box

Philanthropy has been a lifelong priority for Sandra, who was raised in Portland, Oregon before settling in San Francisco when she was in her early 20’s herself. Surrounded by Jewish values on both sides of her family, she has supported many key initiatives in the Bay Area Jewish community over the years.

When the pandemic broke out, Sandra felt called to help in a  more impactful way than ever before.  She pushed herself to think critically about what could truly change the lives of children and families, who are struggling during these uncertain times. “I was thinking outside the box as to what more specialized, personalized services might look like for young people who are facing difficult challenges,” she says.

Sandra sought an organization to partner with that could help to create the fund and that would have the wherewithal for the future to carry it forward. Her deeply-held values aligned perfectly with JFCS’ major initiative, The Center for Children and Youth.

Dr. Anita Friedman, Executive Director of JFCS, says, “For over 170 years, JFCS has been a lifeline for people of all ages who are facing personal crises or challenges. Through the Sandra L. Schnitzer Resilience Fund, JFCS’ Center for Children and Youth will be able to provide a new level of support for our community’s youngest and most vulnerable members.”   

Sandra adds, “The goal is to help someone beyond one moment in time—to give them hope and the ability to have a life that they can look forward to.”

The Center for Children and Youth offers a range of scholarships and assistance to help families who can’t afford the cost of care. To learn more, call us at 1-888-927-0839.

You can help children access critical mental health care and support our impactful public policy work on behalf of young people. Donate today >

WE HELP KIDS AND FAMILIES FLOURISH