About us

Kindness Initiative is an outgrowth of a 2020 study, called “Poverty in the San Diego Jewish Community,” and a subsequent community-convening aimed at assessing means for addressing the unmet needs of Vulnerable Jewish Households (VJHs). This comprehensive study and convening were sponsored by the collaborative efforts of the San Diego Jewish Federation, Jewish Family Services, Jewish Community Foundation, and the Isakow Foundation.

The study identified critical issues within the San Diego Jewish community, revealing that over 20% of the population faced financial and housing insecurity. This encompassed nearly 9,000 individuals living below local poverty levels, with 5,000 households, or approximately 12,000 individuals, teetering on the edge of a financial crisis, just “one paycheck away.” In response to these findings, the community convened to explore effective strategies for addressing the unique challenges faced by Vulnerable Jewish Households.

In light of the study’s insights and the community-convening, Kindness Initiative was established with the specific mandate of evaluating the study’s outcomes. This initiative conducted a separate, subsequent analysis, delving deeper into the data and additional interview findings. Its purpose was to pinpoint actions that could alleviate inadequate access to available services experienced by VJHs and identify gaps in services for those with limited financial resources.

With the support of the San Diego Jewish Federation, Jewish Family Services, Jewish Community Foundation, and the Isakow Foundation, the Kindness Initiative identified more than 70 projects crucial for meeting the needs of VJHs. This led to the development of a community-wide implementation plan, prioritizing actionable projects across various domains, including community education, collaboration and support, identification of VJHs, system entry, information availability, navigating existing services, affordable housing, health and wellness programs, food security, household necessities, employment assistance, transportation, preventative programs, and financial campaigns.

Collaborating with local service providers and leveraging the support of a dedicated volunteer corps, Kindness Initiative is actively coordinating the implementation of this community plan. The initiative addresses poverty in the San Diego Jewish community by utilizing donor funds for a range of member support initiatives. These include emergency payments to member creditors, assistance with essential expenses and services, support for auto repairs/purchases, navigation processes for effective service access with dignity, leveraging existing service provider resources and government benefit programs, establishing administrative teams and a large volunteer corps, maintaining a comprehensive database with metrics for monitoring and reporting results, and developing programs that may not currently be available to VJHs if needed

Our Mission

To alleviate poverty in the San Diego Jewish Community

“Living in poverty” means being unable to meet basic human needs, including housing, food, and clothing.

Kindness Initiative defines “Jewish” as those individuals who self-identify as Jewish and their households, as well as individuals who work for Jewish communal organizations in San Diego County.

Our Visiom

An efficient and effective framework to meet basic
physical and psychological needs of vulnerable Jewish
households, with dignity, kindness, and Jewish values,
through organizational collaborations, volunteers, and innovation.


  • Respect
  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Community
  • Member-centric Service
  • Collaboration
  • Integrity
  • Innovation
  • Persistence
  • Excellence
  • Outcome-driven

Visit the following link for more information about Kindness Initiative’s “Service Standards,” HERE


A collaborative, comprehensive, coordinated, community plan/ framework to assist vulnerable Jewish households. The Kindness Initiative is an independent community poverty oversight and facilitation program, not an agency.


  • Assist Vulnerable Jewish Households (VJHs) in San Diego County, through a collaborative, comprehensive, coordinated, innovative, community plan

  • Expand the free Membership program so all VJHs can access needed services with dignity, and confidentiality
  • Improve coordination among communal organizations, which has been a barrier to identifying and assisting vulnerable households

  • Monitor community standards of care and performance

  • Collaborate with Service Provider partners, to provide Members with customized services

  • Provide supplemental services and client support through an extensive volunteer network

  • Recruit, train and coordinate a large Corps of Volunteers

  • Manage the structured, Member-centric Service Model

    • Identify VJHs

    • Access single-point-of-entry to Services Providers

    • Assess the specific needs of each Member

    • Develop a customized “Action Plan” to address areas of need

    • Assist Member with access to Service Provider Partners

    • Monitor client progress

  • Address existing service-gaps, including affordable housing; financial assistance; health & wellness; legal & accounting; financial literacy; subsidized access to Jewish community activities; information & resource hub with navigators; employment services; transportation challenges; socialization; and care coordination.

  • Create meaningful poverty prevention programs

If you are experiencing a medical or mental health emergency please call 9-1-1 or the San Diego County Access and Crisis Line at 888-724-7240 24 hours, 7 days a week