IN THE NEWS: Nonprofit gets $2.4 million gift to help families

Doreen Hemlock

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Dec 23, 2013

A nonprofit serving south Palm Beach County is receiving a $2.4 million gift to expand services for children and families in the area.

The Rales family, whose patriarch made his fortune in home improvements, building supplies and real estate development, gave the money to the group to be renamed Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services. The new name adds in Norman, the self-made millionaire who died last year.

The gift helps increase the annual budget for the nonprofit from roughly $6 million to more than $7 million. That will allow more programs for residents in need in Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Highland Beach from all backgrounds and beliefs, said president and chief executive Danielle N. Hartman.

The nonprofit aims to add about 10 people to its 41-member staff, as it boosts services related to jobs, domestic abuse education, scholarships for summer camp, counseling and more.

"This donation allows us to create the new 'Center for Families & Children,' which will reach an underserved demographic in our community," Hartman said.

Ruth and Norman Rales lived in Highland Beach, but their sons — trustees of their family foundation — live outside Florida. Some children opt to donate in their own communities instead. Hartman said she was pleased the sons chose to continue helping a group that their parents aided in South Florida.

Begun in 1979 as the first agency of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, the nonprofit said it serves more than 15,000 people yearly, including seniors requiring home care.

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Service (JFS) provides help, hope and humanity through a comprehensive range of programs and services which support people of all ages and beliefs. With locations in Boca Raton and Delray Beach, JFS programs and services include food and financial assistance, senior services, vocational training, counseling and mental health services and many volunteer opportunities. Funding is provided by private and corporate support, grants, special events and individuals who reach thousands in need each year. For more information about JFS volunteer opportunities and services for seniors, contact 561-852-3333. Learn more at ruthralesjfs.org.

Photo Caption: The Rales family has provided a $2.4 million gift to a social services group to expand programs in South Palm Beach County. The nonprofit, with offices in Boca Raton and Delray Beach, will be renamed the Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services and serve people of all backgrounds and beliefs. (handout, Sun Sentinel / December 13, 2013)

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