Jewish Free Loan Association Celebrates 120 Years of Empowering Communities

Los Angeles, CA – January 18, 2024: The Jewish Free Loan Association (JFLA) is thrilled to commemorate its 120th anniversary, marking a significant milestone in the organization’s enduring commitment to providing zero-interest, zero-fee loans to those in need. JFLA is honoring this landmark year with special community events, the launch of a new App, a renovation of its website, and a recent contribution of $500,000 in Emergency Funds to Ogen, the Israel Free Loan Association. In line with its ongoing dedication to creating a more equitable and thriving community, JFLA aims to raise $1.2 million this year, further expanding its vital mission in fostering civic engagement, driving economic growth, and strengthening the fabric of our world with needed support.

“We are dedicated to empowering clients within our community, and we are proud of the affect we have made. Our 120th anniversary serves as a testament to our unwavering commitment to serving those in need. The impact of JFLA extends far beyond the financial assistance we provide; it is about fostering hope and creating a better future.”

JFLA Executive Director Rachel Grose

In her own 21 years with the Jewish Free Loan Association, Ms. Grose has successfully elevated the image of the organization, increased its assets, and has cultivated long-term relationships with community leaders, high profile corporate and individual donors, and elected officials throughout the state of California.

With a current loan outreach of $18 million, JFLA continues its legacy of fostering financial stability and independence. Over the past two decades, JFLA has facilitated approximately 6,200 loans, equating to a remarkable $54 million in support to individuals and families. Since the Jewish Free Loan Association is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) social services organization and not a bank, borrowers only repay what they borrow. Interest-free loans, instead of charity, fill the gap in our social system by promoting self-sufficiency with dignity. There is never any collateral required, as with predatory lenders, and only two guarantors are needed to co-sign a loan.

Types of JFLA Loans and How They Work:

Personal/Emergency Loans:

Loans can cover most expenses related to housing, rental assistance, unexpected home repairs, medical, dental, and other health emergencies, domestic violence victim expenses, in-home healthcare, IVF/adoption, and funerals.

Small Business Loans:

Loans can be used for new start-ups, small business expansion, rent, inventory, technology upgrades, and green energy needs. Proof of a recently filed business tax return and CA Business License, CA Seller Permit or City of LA Tax Registration Certificate is needed to apply.

Education Loans:

Students may apply for loans for a traditional 4-year college, Nursing, Medical, Dental, Community college, Vocational, or Trade school. Loans can be used to pay for graduate or undergraduate tuition, fees, housing, transportation, books, computers, and more.

Horvitz Teachers’ Loan Fund for Teachers:

JFLA has recently launched the Horvitz Teachers’ Loan Fund, which is particularly important for educators in California. The funds will be put to immediate use to refinance teacher’s student loan debt. Loans can be up to $20,000 with two guarantors. Teachers that qualify need to have taught for at least one year and must currently be teaching full time. The fund was created in part due to the teacher shortage across the state of California. Many teachers can’t afford their profession and if they had a way to help with their debt, they might be more encouraged to continue serving the community. 

David Horvitz is available for interviews.

“JFLA is grateful to the Horvitz Family for their support and belief in interest-free lending. With this fund, JFLA will have a greater impact on the financial security and well-being of our teachers,” said Ms. Grose.

How JFLA Helped Those Affected by the WGA and SAG Strikes of 2023

The WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes of 2023 created a ripple effect across various sectors of the entertainment industry, leading to financial hardships for a wide array of professionals. JFLA took a proactive stance to provide loans up to $3,000 for those in film and television that became unemployed. The traditional loan amounts up to $15,000 with two guarantors helping those without a source of income. Recognizing that the impact of these strikes extended beyond writers and actors, JFLA helped teamsters, set designers, caterers, location scouts and others to cover essential living expenses including rent/mortgage payments, grocery and utility bills, and childcare.

“For many individuals in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara County, an interest-free loan can mean the difference between despair and hope,” said Ms. Grose. “Our loans are designed to be a lifeline during these challenging times empowering borrowers to maintain stability in their lives.”

One client of JFLA, Christopher McLain, Assistant Location Manager and Scout, and a member of Hollywood Teamsters 399 Union, said, “As a member of the industry, I ran into some serious roadblocks with the resources at my disposal during the strike, and JFLA showed me incredible support and helped me quickly with a loan to get me through this tough time.”

The JFLA App Launch

In 2023, JFLA unveiled its innovative mobile app to meet the evolving needs of its diverse clientele,  78% of whom use their smartphones to complete their loan materials. Individuals, partner organizations, and foundations funded the app’s development by programmers from around the globe.

“The JFLA Mobile App allows new users (at this time, existing loans cannot be accessed on the app) to quickly answer a few questions, take a picture of their documents, and hit UPLOAD! It is empowering and user-friendly,” said Ms. Grose. Check it out in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store

Key features of the JFLA Mobile App include:

  • Effortless Application: A simplified application process enabling users to seamlessly submit loan requests through their smartphones, eliminating unnecessary hassle and paperwork.
  • Quick Approval: Streamlined processing ensuring speedy approval within 5-7 business days of loan applications, thus facilitating timely assistance to those in immediate financial need.
  • User-Friendly Interface: An intuitive interface designed to cater to individuals from diverse backgrounds, making the app accessible to all, irrespective of their level of technological proficiency.
  • Secure and Confidential: A robust security protocol ensuring the utmost confidentiality and protection of users’ personal and financial information, thereby fostering trust and reliability.
  • Real-Time Updates: Comprehensive tracking features allowing borrowers to monitor the progress of their loan applications, ensuring transparency.

About JFLA

Since 1904, JFLA has been a beacon of hope for individuals and families. As the only non-sectarian, interest-free lending organization in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties, JFLA’s loans are the ideal tool to impact the major issues facing our community, including predatory lending, housing stability, student debt, access to medical and dental care, domestic violence, and business insecurity. The organization helps Angelenos lead more rewarding and responsible lives at the intersection of finance and philanthropy. Learn more at JFLA.org.

About Staff

They call me "NewsHound IV," because I'm a clever Finnegan, sniffing out stories all over the Boulder area. I love Jewish holidays because the food is GREAT, especially the brisket. Well all the food. I was a rescue pup and glad to be on the scent!

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