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Jewish Family Service of Western Mass. gets $250,000 Citizenship and integration grant

SPRINGFIELD – Jewish Family Service of Western Mass has been awarded a competitive two-year $250,000 Citizenship and Integration Grant from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

This grant enables JFS to continue its work helping legal permanent residents become citizens of the United States. The fiscal year 2021 grants, which run through September 2023, will fund legal services for citizenship applicants and educational programs designed to deepen an applicant’s knowledge of English, U.S. history and civics. Since it began in 2009, the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program has awarded more than $112 million through 513 competitive grants to immigrant-serving organizations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Now in its 13th year, the program has helped more than 290,500 LPRs prepare for citizenship. 

JFS is one of 40 organizations in 25 states to receive nearly $10 million in funding to support citizenship preparation services. Now in its 13th year, the USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grant Program has helped more than 290,500 lawful permanent residents prepare for citizenship. A “permanent resident” is a person authorized by the U.S. government to live and work in the country on a permanent basis. Jewish Family Service is a nonprofit social service agency that has developed both substantive legal and programmatic expertise during its ten years of experience in Citizenship and Naturalization services. “The program began as a response to a glaring unmet need in our community. Today, JFS is a well-respected and trusted partner in engaging the immigrant community in Hampden County,” said Maxine Stein, JFS CEO. “JFS is excited and pleased to have received this grant opportunity. It will allow us to strengthen our current work in citizenship and positions us to be a leader in helping those on the path to becoming U.S. citizens. As a Jewish organization, we are proud to provide this important service to our local residents. Like all of us, we value freedom, safety and opportunity. Citizenship helps to provide that and we can help make that happen.” 

JFS was a sub-awardee of a USCIS Office of Citizenship National Capacity Building Grant awarded to HIAS for FY 2010. JFS’ citizenship curriculum was highlighted by USCIS on their website for best practices in 2011. In 2013, JFS received a similar two-year citizenship grant, and received the twoyear USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grant in 2017, 2019 and now in 2021. In addition to processing naturalization applications and providing citizenship instruction, JFS prepares a cadre of volunteers who are trained to provide ESOL tutoring and civics instruction. “Our staff is accredited by the Department of Justice. This additional support is a tremendous resource for our clients and our program as well.” 

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