In 1984, just a week after getting my letter of acceptance to Northwestern University, my father died. My finances for college became uncertain. Even with a grant and work-study package from Northwestern, there was still a big financial gap. My mom, who had taken a job as a receptionist at Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, learned about JELF (Jewish Educational Loan Fund), which is now supported by our Federation. JELF grants interest-free loans for higher education to Jewish students in need for higher education, and I sure needed one.
My JELF loan made going to Northwestern possible. I graduated in ’88 with a degree in communications, came home to Atlanta and got my first job. Like 99% of JELF recipients, I paid my loan back on time — students have eight years to repay. Incredible, right?
Years later, I volunteered for JELF and served as board president. Through this experience, I saw firsthand the variety of hardships applicants face — illness in the family, financial crises, crime, and severe disabilities.
JELF affirms the Jewish biblical requirement for interest-free lending, and in the process changes lives. JELF treats its students like family throughout the life of their loan and beyond. In my case, JELF not only positioned me for a lifetime of success, it also gave me a powerful way to come full circle and pay that generosity forward.
Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta is proud to partner with Jewish Educational Loan Fund in educating Jewish students to strengthen our future.
Get the latest news and involvement opportunities delivered straight to your inbox.