IN THE NEWS: Jewish Family Service receives $2.4 million donation

David A. Schwartz, Staff Writer


Dec 23, 2013

A $2.4 million donation by the three sons of philanthropist Norman Rales will fund a Center for Families and Children at the Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service in West Boca Raton.

Joshua Rales of Potomac, Maryland said in a phone call that he and his brothers wanted to honor their parents and the good work they did and build upon that work. "We're very proud of what they have done," he said.

Norman Rales died in 2012. The building-supply company founder's philanthropy helped to create the Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service in 1979, which was named in honor of his wife. Ruth Rales died in 2004.

The $2.4 million donation from the Norman and Ruth Rales Foundation will come in a two-year grant to the newly named Norman & Ruth Rales Jewish Family Services, Joshua Rales said. "It's a way to honor my father by adding his name to the agency," he said.

Danielle Hartman, the social service agency's president and CEO, said the grant would allow the agency to increase its budget by 20 percent and address unmet needs in the community. "We're really well known for the services we provide for seniors," Hartman said. "This [donation] will give us more of a presence and serve families and children in a whole different way."

The agency provides meals to seniors and support to Holocaust survivors, operates a food pantry, offers family counseling and runs a senior center in Delray Beach.

With the increased funding, it will add vocational and employment services for workers hit hard by the recession and slow job growth.

The agency will also add domestic abuse education for teens and adults, and a program of outreach, case management, crisis intervention, and legal and medical referrals. It will operate a crisis hotline.

Financial assistance to families to send their children to day camp and Jewish overnight camp will be available for the first time, Hartman said. The agency will also offer tutoring and college preparatory assistance.

Counseling, workshops, support groups and educational resources will be provided in synagogues "to bring our services into the community," Hartman said.

A restructuring of the organization will create several new management positions and social workers will be hired for domestic abuse counseling and community outreach, said Hartman, who will oversee the new services. About 10 new positions will be created, she said.

A rededication ceremony with Joshua, Steven and Mitchell Rales is planned for the first quarter of 2014, Hartman said.

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

Photo Caption: Norman and Ruth Rales, whose sons donated $2.4 million for a Center for Families and Children at the newly named Norman & Ruth Rales Jewish Family Services in West Boca Raton. (Submitted photo / December 13, 2013)

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