Jewish Free Loan Fund Offers Lifeline for Families and Businesses

Spurred by the economic hardships caused by COVID-19, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford launched the Jewish Free Loan Fund of Greater Hartford in 2020 to provide financial stability to individuals, households, and businesses throughout our community. For those in need of a hand up—not a handout—these interest-free loans have been a critical source of support throughout the pandemic and the economic downturn to follow. Read below to learn how the Jewish Free Loan Fund has evolved, and how it continues to serve the needs of those facing unexpected hardships.

Nearly two years since the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford launched the Jewish Free Loan Fund, the effects of the pandemic continue to ripple through the economy. The financial need experienced by families and businesses has only increased, and in the early months of 2022, the Jewish Free Loan Fund Committee saw a sharp increase in loan applicants. Based on the applications received, many families require help with auto repairs, overdue home repairs, rent, and funeral costs. Of the more than $85,750 in loans provided, nearly 14% has been used for unexpected medical expenses. And the committee has provided more than 16 families or businesses in need with an interest-free loan.

One Jewish family needed help in defraying moving costs as they relocated to the Greater Hartford area. “The Jewish Free Loan Fund was a lifesaver in our move and transition to West Hartford,” they said. “[It] enabled us to get much needed home repairs to benefit the safety of our family—especially our children—and improve our overall quality of life.”

Although not all loan applications have proven eligible, the committee has responded with creative ways to meet applicants’ needs, says Ann Pava, chair of the Jewish Free Loan Fund. “Not everyone who applies qualifies for a loan, but Jody Angell, director of the Jewish Free Loan Fund, helps every person find the help they need,” said Ann, noting that Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford has been a critical partner in matching those in need with community services.

“We learned this year that, not only are the loans a beautiful way to help people, but the Jewish Free Loan office is a place where people in need can get help—even if they don’t qualify for a loan,” said Ann.

Since its inception, Federation has increased the maximum loan amounts commensurate with the rising cost of living. Today, the maximum personal loan amount is $10,000 and business loans are now available up to $15,000—an increase from $7,500. As of May 2022, the Jewish Free Loan Fund Committee had raised a total of $256,600 for qualified applicants in need of temporary relief. Of course, the number of people the committee can assist is only limited by the funds available to lend. If you would like to make a charitable donation to the Jewish Free Loan Fund, contact Jody Angell at

If you, or someone you know, needs help paying medical or legal bills, sending your children to day school, or keeping your small business afloat, please consider applying for a Jewish Free Loan. Click here to learn more or download an application form.