Posts Tagged ‘loans’

Expanding HFL’s Camp Loans and for The Teen Mission

September 4th, 2013

Blog authored by: Sherri Ketai

A Hebrew Free Loan (HFL) interest-free loan can help families (that have financial need or may just not have the necessary cash-flow) to pay for summer camp experiences and for Israel travel.  This comes in VERY handy when a lump-sum deposit or final amount is due in the spring, and many families do not have the ability to make that deadline.  An HFL loan for a qualifying family (subject to a customized loan pay-off timeline) will allow them to pay back HFL over 12 months—without interest, of course.

As a newer Board member at HFL, I asked if the general Jewish community is aware of these loans and whether or not camps (besides Tamarack) are promoting this to their families.

We think that many overnight and day camps where Jewish kids regularly attend (in Michigan and throughout our region) are NOT AWARE and have never promoted this opportunity to their Michigan-based Jewish families.

This blog is the first step HFL will be taking to expand awareness to the following overnight camps: Tavor, Tamakwa, Tanuga, Interlochen, Ramah, GUCI, Walden, and Wooden Acres.  This is not an exhaustive list, but it is where we will be starting.

Summer day camps at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) and at many synagogues also serve families who may have difficulties in paying a lump-sum camp deposit.  HFL will reach out to remind all of these groups that their families also may be eligible for HFL summer camp loans.

Another amazing program in our community is the Israel Teen Mission of The Jewish Federation and many partnering synagogues.  This is an expensive but life-changing Israel experience for our Jewish teens, but again—many families may have a tough time meeting the cost to send their kids (even with scholarships that are available).  HFL can provide interest-free loan assistance that makes the Teen Mission a reality, as well.

HFL is expanding our horizons, so spread the word!

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.

Expanding Directions – Camp, College and other Loan Programs

July 23rd, 2013

Blog Authored by Michael Berke and David Contorer

Hebrew Free Loan (HFL) is growing our loan programs and expanding awareness across the Jewish communities of Michigan.  We believe there are so many more people who could benefit from our interest-free loans for home repair, a used car, starting/ expanding a small business, paying for in-vitro fertilization and to cover hundreds of other living expenses.  HFL will always focus on safety-net service needs, where interest-free loans can provide these critical sources of support.  Beyond the safety net, HFL wants the community to know that the agency is here to help in so many other situations, as well.

In 2013 and beyond, there are some key areas where HFL will be growing our loan pool and publicizing to the community about our ability to help our Jewish community members to enhance their lives.

Summer camp experiences take many forms.  Jewish families in Michigan send their children to dozens of camps—some are day camps at the Jewish Community Center or at synagogues; some are Reform, Conservative, Orthodox or Israeli Jewish movement camps with a variety of programming; other camps are athletic or music-themed.  In all cases, these camps require significant fees to enroll your kids.  An HFL, interest-free, summer camp loan in the spring can allow a family to cover that cost (and pay back HFL over the course of the next 12 months).  This is a life-enhancing, cash-flow benefit that HFL intends to publicize and share with many more camps and families across our region.  Let us help your family send the kids to camp!

Interest-free loans for college and graduate school are so desperately needed across the U.S., and HFL will be stepping up to address those needs in Michigan’s Jewish community.  HFL will aggressively be expanding this loan program with more loan dollars and a robust marketing / outreach campaign and new technology to let hundreds more families know that we are here to help their students.

And speaking of ‘outreach,’ HFL’s Road Show is coming to a synagogue and Jewish organization near you!  We are not only sharing blogs and social media about our loans, but real, live HFL people are getting the word out to anyone who will listen that HFL is here to help you with our loans!  We will be at the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue in the fall (and at many other places to share the message).

HFL is growing our capacity and the awareness across Michigan’s Jewish community landscape that our agency is here to help, just like we’ve been doing for 118 years.

Earth Day at HFL – We Recycle Dollars

April 22nd, 2013

Post authored by Carolyn Bellinson, a Hebrew Free Loan Board Member

Earth Day 2013 got me thinking about the ways in which we (the collective “we”) have taken care, not only of our physical environment, but also the human environment in which we live.

Hopefully all of us are in the habit of recycling as much of our refuse as possible, so as to free up space in the landfills that dot our landscape.  Recycling our trash also helps alleviate the tearing down of more trees or the production of more rubber, by allowing new goods to be produced using old materials that have been discarded.

Recycling can also occur in our human environment.  In fact, Hebrew Free Loan has been promoting such “recycling” for over 100 years now.  In our long tradition of providing interest free loans to our Jewish community, recycling has been a crucial factor of our continued ability to provide loans to our community.  As loans are paid back, those same dollars go out the door to another loan recipient.  In this manner, HFL is one of the original recyclers aiding  the human environment.

HFL’s Evergreen Legacy Fund (ELF)  highlights just how much recycling impacts our community.  In just one ELF the power of recycling has made possible the following loans for our community:

*security deposit and rent for a woman to leave an abusive marriage

*used car for a woman to get her paralegal certificate from a community college

*home repairs to fix up a house purchased by a recently divorced father

*car repair for a woman to drive her disabled brother to his appointments

So, just as we teach our children the great importance of taking care of our planet, we must also teach our children how crucial it is to take care of our community.  HFL has been playing its part in helping our community.  Have you?

Please visit our website ( and see how you can get involved in the human recycling movement. In addition, you can call us at 248-723-8184.

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.

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.