Posts Tagged ‘detroit’

College Bound? Applying for the William Davidson Jewish College Loan Program (WDJCLP)? Mark Your 2015 Calendar with These Important Dates

March 9th, 2015

As winter fades into spring, time really seems to accelerate for high school students and their parents and grandparents. Parties, ceremonies, awards and special events fill up the calendar. And you know what else should fill your calendar? These key application dates for applying for loans!

College is a big investment in your future and traditional student loans can be difficult to pay back due to high interest rates.

The William Davidson Jewish College Loan Program (WDJCLP) is a student loan that can help qualifying Jewish students who live in Michigan. Best part – it’s interest free!

If you are interested in applying, here are the important spring application dates for the Fall 2015 semester and the Winter/Spring 2016 semester.

April 1 – Opening date for submitting WDJCLP applications with initial supporting documents (acceptance letter from school, tax returns, student driver’s license)

May 15 – Deadline for submitting WDJCLP with initial supporting documents

June 15 – Deadline for submitting final supporting documents which include the following:

– Student Aid Report (SAR) received after filing for FAFSA.
– Financial aid award letter from school you will be attending
– Transcript from last school year completed
– Copy of each co-signer’s driver’s license
– Completed and signed co-signer form

July 2015 – WDJCLP Loan Committee meets to review and evaluate applications

July 31, 2015 – WDJCLP notifies students of the Loan Committee’s decision/ sends promissory notes

August 15, 2015 – Deadline for submitting completed promissory notes

August 31, 2015 – Receive loan checks

If you have any questions, please read more about our application process or contact us by email at or phone at 248-723-8184.

Why Serving on the HFL Board is a Special Experience

August 14th, 2013

Blog authored by: Susie Pappas

This may surprise many who know me but I am not a native Detroiter.  I came here from Chicago in 1971 as a new bride and did not know a soul except my husband, Norm.  So what does a “newbie” do to meet some new people?  Join organizations, of course!  Before I knew it, I became very involved in the Jewish community, taking a variety of leadership roles in Federation and other Jewish organizations.  I was fortunate to be asked to serve on several boards, including the JCC, JFS, Women’s Department and Board of Governors of the JFMD as well as being involved with Yad Ezra and JARC.  I even spent a short time on the HFL board but because of time restraints, I had to drop off that one.  Fast forward about 30 years and here I am once again on one of the best boards in town!  Hebrew Free Loan is the place to be!

As a board member, I take my turn about 4-6 times a year to help with interviewing potential borrowers.  I have learned many things while fulfilling this job.

  1. We try to say “yes” as often as we can, which always makes each of us feel proud of a job well done.  Usually as long as the borrower can repay the loan and is able to secure two valid co-signers, we can loan the money that is requested.

  2. People come to Hebrew Free Loan because they have nowhere else to go.

  3. We hear all kinds of stories: many are sad, but we also hear about simchas, as well.

  4. People just like you and me may very well be sitting right across the table from me (and they have, believe me)

  5. We recycle money–yes, it is a loan–but 99% of the time, the loan is paid back and then it can be loaned out again to others in need.

  6. The staff at HFL are among the nicest and most helpful staff I have ever worked with.

  7. I look forward to my interview times and would like to do it more often but everyone on this board feels the same way!

If serving on the Hebrew Free Loan board could be a lifetime position, then sign me up, please!  As I said, it’s one of the best boards in town!!

Project Heal

August 7th, 2013

Blog Authored by Dr Allen Berman

I feel very fortunate to be a member of the HEAL loan team. These loans are funded through a special grant (from The Jewish Fund and matching donations)  and are for individuals who need medical or dental procedures but can not qualify for a traditional loan.  We are able to relax our requirements on co-signers and repayment schedules and can therefore provide assistance to the most vulnerable in our community.

 As a practicing dentist and healthcare professional, I have the unique opportunity to review and discuss each case with the other members of the HEAL team.  By pooling our expertise we are able to evaluate, validate and ultimately expedite the process so our clients can get the treatment they need.  From a personal point of view, it is very gratifying to be part of an organization that facilitates members of our Jewish community in meeting their various needs while maintainig their dignity.

Youth in Philanthropy

April 17th, 2013

Blog entry by David Contorer, Executive Director, Hebrew Free Loan

I have been involved with nonprofit (“for-impact” more accurately describes our sector’s work) fundraising, programming and community leadership since 1993.  In that time, I have had the privilege to work with children and young adults who are the ‘next generation’ of donors and community activists.  I have also taught tweens and teens about community needs and how they can become involved in hands-on ways to make a positive difference.

I echo what many other for-impact professionals say about involving youth in philanthropy—it is ESSENTIAL for our communities.  For those under 30 to learn about local, national and international needs —this is the first step in educating future donors and those who will steward our planet.  The younger generation of family foundations is often ignored in the exclusive process of grant-making decisions, and I applaud those family foundations who actively include their younger members.

Parents who volunteer at hands-on social service agencies WITH THEIR KIDS are modeling social activism.  Younger generations are going to find their own issues of social justice, and these will likely not agree with the points that motivated parents and grandparents; this is one reason that the more established generations of family foundations tend to be somewhat threatened.  Overcome that feeling, engage the younger generation, and let them feel the ‘high’ that comes from supporting social services that make a positive difference in our world.

Engaging young adults on for-impact agency boards and with hands-on roles to be played with social justice policy—these are other key ways that we open the door for young adults to really gain a handle on community needs and the roles they may actively play to address them.  An informed young adult is much more likely to become an informed donor and philanthropist as (s)he ages and gains resources.

At Hebrew Free Loan, we are committed to having a diverse Board of directors, representing all ages.  Young adults are essential members, because their perspectives on Metro Detroit’s needs for their cohort are entirely different.  This cross-pollination of veteran and young opinions is also very healthy for the for-impact sector, and each generation can learn from others while philanthropic resources are allocated.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 21st, 2012

HFL has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

As an agency, we’ve provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans to individuals in our community this year that needed financial assistance. From medical expenses to car payments to home repairs and educational loans, HFL continues our 118 year tradition of giving back to those who need our help.

And as the Holiday approaches us, HFL expresses our thanks for all of the support we’ve received this year. To our donors, who have graciously donated their funds to our annual campaign, and loan funds and as tributes, we thank you. To our Board Members, who have generously donated their time, their passion, and their kindness to our agency, our staff, and our loan recipients, we thank you. To our Jewish community, which is unparalleled in how it goes above and beyond to help others, we thank you.

With so much to be thankful for, it’s hard to think that there are others around us who are less fortunate. During a difficult time, how can we engage, and encourage those to help others? At Hebrew Free Loan, there is only so much in our capacity that we can do to provide interest-free loans. So look outside the box this holiday, and find ways to give back to those in need.

From food drives to donating clothing to raising money for your favorite organization, make sure to spread the message amongst the ones you love. It’s a time to be thankful for the many fortunes that we all have, and to give to one another.

HFL Best Practices: Innovative marketing techniques for non-profits

October 24th, 2012

At the recent International Association of Hebrew Free Loans (IAJFL) conference in Phoenix, I heard from colleagues in Jewish communities across North America how they are using both traditional and new media channels to reach out to donors, loan borrowers and other stakeholders.  Some of the best ideas I heard were:

  • YouTube videos posted on HFL websites narrating the testimonials and life-changing outcomes of successful loan borrowers.  These are great ways to show others (who may be in the same predicament) about HFL’s loan solutions.
  • Thank you phone calls made by HFL Board members to anyone who donated any amount within the last three years.  These are warm, personal contacts—just to say THANK YOU!
  • Newsletters (hard-copies that are mailed and electronic versions) that feature loan success stories from many different scenarios.  Some of these reflect the full-cycle effect of a former loan borrower who is now a donor to the HFL agency—POWERFUL.
  • College and graduate school loan applications done entirely online with personal interviews that follow the processing of all hard data.  This saves so much time, paperwork and angst on the part of the borrowers.
  • Survey questions asking (via Facebook) what types of loans are most in need…Responsive and interactive social media is so much more effective than static, one-way postings of information
  • Mailed, laminated, business-card-sized calendars to agency stakeholders (with the Jewish holidays highlighted).  Simple, yet needed, and these were part of a High Holiday “L’Shana Tova” mailing.

Communicating with all of HFL’s stakeholders in the most compelling and interactive ways is critical.  We have limited time and space to “make our case,” so these marketing and communications ‘touches’ count.

Thanks for sending us YOUR best suggestions on how our HFL can engage in innovative and effective marketing of our good work!

–       David Contorer, Executive Director, Hebrew Free Loan, Detroit

Increase. Reuse. Recycle.

September 5th, 2012

The common phrase goes something like this, “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle”. When it comes to the green initiative, we support the saying, but when it comes to interest free loans, we like the phrase “Increase. Reuse. Recycle”. That’s because at Hebrew Free Loan, we’ve got a lot to to give. And one of the best things about our agency is that every dollar you give to a Hebrew Free Loan fund is recycled.

That doesn’t mean we put your money into a recycling bin, but in some ways, we do. That’s because every dollar that you donate to a loan fund, is essentially loaned out to a community member in need, and then repaid, and reused for the next loan cycle. It’s our program called the Evergreen Legacy Fund (ELF). It’s a giving opportunity that enables our donors to give $25,000 or more, a donation that helps our agency build on our loan capital. As part of this gift, our donors receive an annual report of the loans made with their specific contributed dollars. As the loans are repaid, the dollars are then returned to the fund, and then loaned out, again, and again.

It’s the recycling power of your original gift that enables our agency to help individuals and families who need our assistance now. Even better, it provides us with the confidence to know that we can also provide them assistance in the future. In more ways than one, every dollar you donate to an ELF becomes a legacy gift. That’s because on average, every $1 you donate delivers $25 in loan capital, helping 25 individuals, or families, manage and cope with their financial stress. At Hebrew Free Loan, we’re proud to say that no other donation model can provide this kind of impact.

And while we’re talking about recycling our dollars, we think it’s also important to point out some agencies in Detroit that are greening our environment. We believe it’s equally as important to what we do, and we wanted to let you know that there are other great ways to get involved in your community. So check out some of the agencies below, and let us know how you plan on recycling this year!

  • The Greening of Detroit: The Greening’s mission is to guide and inspire others to create a ‘greener’ Detroit through planting and educational programs environmental leadership, advocacy, and by building community capacity.
  • Arts and Scraps: Arts & Scraps is a Detroit non-profit organization that uses recycled industrial materials to help people of all ages and abilities think, create and learn.
  • Green Garage: The Green Garage is actually three things: a building located in the Midtown area of Detroit, a business enterprise, and a community of people dedicated to Detroit’s sustainable future.
  • Next Energy: NextEnergy’s mission is to accelerate energy security, economic competitiveness, and environmental responsibility through the growth of advanced-energy technologies, businesses, and industries.

Michigan is Big Business

August 30th, 2012

Michigan is having a comeback.

And at Hebrew Free Loan, we’re proud to play a small role in this epic movement. That’s because Detroit has seen incredible growth in these past few years, and thanks to organizations like Bizdom, and Detroit Venture Partners, we can see our community’s future moving in the right direction.

So, what’s our part in this? Well, let’s start with the grant we recieved this last year from the Danto family. $1,000,000 was bequeathed to us for the purpose of Interest Free Loans to catapult new business in Michigan.  And with their help, we’re able to offer the funds to Jewish community members in Michigan, ones who are eager to start new business, and develop the economy of our great state.

In even better news, Detroit has recently been featured in countless national news organizations, as well as Fast Company, where they named Detroit the “Next Sillicone Valley”. We’ve got a lot of hype, but with the hype, we’ve got a lot of new talent. As a community, people are eager to help each other succeed, people like us at Hebrew Free Loan, who make it easy to pay back your business loans.

So if you’ve got a small business idea, take the time to do your research and find the best organization to back you up. There are tons of different agencies in the area that are looking for people like you to come up with the next big thing. And that’s the great thing about Detroit, we’re all in this together, and there’s a place for you no matter who you are.

If you want additional information about the Marvin I Danto Small Business Loan program, contact us directly at For updates, news, stories, and events, check us out on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @HFLDetroit.

Help for All – Project Chessed

August 13th, 2012

117 years ago, Hebrew Free Loan started providing interest free loans to members of the Jewish community. And while we’ve continued in this great tradition, we realize that there are people outside of our circle that need help too. That’s why we’ve established working relationships with other great organizations around the area, ones that can offer assistance to enhance our support.

So each week we are going to put the Spotlight on other amazing non profit agencies in Michigan. Typically, these are the agencies that we work in synergy, mainly referring those individuals who contact us who need direct services beyond what HFL provides. This week, we put the spotlight on Project Chessed, a program of Jewish Family Service, designed to provide medical assistance to members of our Jewish Community who are in need, as defined below:

Project Chessed: Connects the uninsured to physicians, to needed treatment, to institutions and prescription medications, to those who may otherwise go without care and needed medicines. They are a a nationally recognized award winning, access-to-care network for medically uninsured adults.

And while the number of uninsured adults and families keeps increasing as people lose their jobs and benefits, Project Chessed addresses this issue by connecting the uninsured to needed health care.  We believe that everyone should have access to health care regardless of financial status.

Project Chessed Care Coordinators work closely with each participant to all needed care including:

  • Physician office visits
  • Scheduling of appointments
  • Access to prescriptions at local pharmacies and by mail through pharmaceutical company assistance programs
  • Prescription eyewear


Project Chessed is available to adults who are:

  • Medically uninsured
  • 19 – 64 years of age
  • Member of a Jewish household
  • Meet financial eligibility criteria

If you or someone you know is medically uninsured and in need or access to care, call Jewish Family Service’s Project Chessed at 248.592.2313 or complete their Contact Us form.

Have you worked with or benefitted from Project Chessed? Or do you know other great programs in our area? Let us know with your comments below.

Welcome to Our Blog

July 30th, 2012

Things are about to change here at Hebrew Free Loan of Detroit, and we’re excited about that.
And while change can be a scary thing, we’re here to show you that in this case, it’s actually a really a good thing.  Because, since 1895, we’ve been providing members of the Jewish Community in Michigan with interest free loans. Ya, you heard us right, that’s Interest Free Loans. It’s Gemilut Chasidim (Ge-Mee-Lute Cha-Sa-Deem), or better known in English, Acts of Loving Kindness. It’s about helping members of our community, by allowing them to help themselves.

We do all this by providing those in need with interest free loans. So whether you’re starting a new business, paying your child’s tuition, or need some extra cash for a root canal, Hebrew Free Loan can help. And better yet, we want to help. That’s why we are pushing to get more people who may need us in our door. We’re invested in our community, and most importantly, our people.

So stay tuned, and keep your eyes peeled! We’re going to be sharing our stories, as well as lots of information on other great initiatives that are going on in the community!