Friendship Circle Comes In Fourth, Wins $100K


friendship-circleAfter two hectic weeks of intense campaigning, The Friendship Circle of Michigan won $100,000 in the Chase Community Giving Competition. The frum-run organization, which assists children with special needs and their families, was in fourth place when the competition ended Friday.

The top four organizations were:

1. Invisible Children Inc
San Diego, CA
123990 votes

2. Isha Foundation Inc
McMinnville, TN
122742 votes

3. Twloha Inc
Cocoa, FL
96145 votes

4. Friendship Circle
West Bloomfield, MI
59023 votes

Since 1994, Friendship Circle has been providing assistance and support to the families of children with special needs. The majority of the Friendship Circle’s innovative work with children with special needs takes place at the Ferber Kaufman LifeTown building, a 23,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility, which serves as a therapy and activity center, social meeting place, and hub for our network of volunteers, professional staff, and supporters.

The most striking feature of LifeTown is the Weinberg Village, a unique, interactive world where children with special needs, our Special Friends, can have fun while they practice important life skills through role play. Weinberg Village, a realistic 5,000 square foot indoor town features its own movie theater, beauty salon, pet shop, library, drug store and bank. At LifeTown, children with special needs and their parents and siblings find aplace that has been specifically designed to meet their needs.LifeTown is more than a community center or a therapeutic facility – it is a house of friendship. In addition to providing assistance and support to families of children with special needs, Friendship Circle offers support to individuals and families struggling with addiction, isolation, and other crises through our Daniel B. Sobel Friendship House.

The Daniel B. Sobel Friendship House is a safe haven – a place where people in crisis of all ages and backgrounds can go to pull themselves together, determine what their next steps will be, and readjust to the world around them, all in an environment of unconditional friendship and support. The Friendship House, a non-threatening, comfortable home, features cozy lounges, a kitchen and dining area, a library filled with hundreds of titles on recovery and addiction, offices for counseling and administration, and a social hall for meetings and events. A variety of activities are offered on a daily basis, and the House is available for AA/NA and other recovery meetings.

 Rabbi Levi Shemtov is Founder and Director of Friendship Circle.

Friendship Circle began its campaign for $1 million in mid November 2009. In Round 1, they competed among 500,000 other contestants. Mainly reliant on their alumni and local community, they qualified into Round 2, as one of 100 top-voted charities. This Round 2 qualification also provided Friendship Circle a $25,000 grant.

Seeing the list of the 100 finalists, The Friendship Circle of Michigan knew that it had a tremendous hurdle to overcome. With their campaign setup and ready for launch, Round 2 opened with a bang on Friday, January 15th at 12:00am. Friendship Circle immediately rushed into the #2 position. But that momentum would be short lived. At 4:30 pm Friday, just a mere 16 hours after voting began, the campaigners turned off their computers, phones and electricity in observance of Shabbos.

{Noam Newscenter}