DIVERSITY & INCLUSION/
Jewish Free Loan Toronto (JFLT) was founded on the Biblical premise of Gmilut Hasadim, or “acts of kindness” something which in today’s culture includes and translates into an acceptance and celebration of diversity and inclusion. Since its beginning in 1924, JFLT has endeavored to respect the unique contributions its staff and board members bring to the table and to serve a diverse clientele with sensitivity and dignity. Gender, age, religious affiliation, sexual orientation and appearance play no role in our deliberative processes about loan allotment. The only determining factor is need.
JFLT believes that an inclusive work culture and environment contributes to maintaining and enhancing our success. This means that staff members, board directors, volunteers and clients are valued because of and not in spite of their differences. As an inclusive agency, JFLT has policies and practices in place that promote acceptance. There is zero tolerance for any form of discrimination, harassment or bullying in the boardroom, workplace or interview process.
Board Members and Volunteers/
JFLT has made and continues to make every effort to ensure that its board of 25 is diverse and reflective of the Toronto community that it serves. JFLT aims to have board members and volunteers come from various religious affiliations, socio-economic backgrounds and ethnic origins and to provide services to clients in English, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish, Yiddish and French. JFLT’s board members work inclusively with each other and the staff. Committees share information with one another and are often staffed by professionals and lay people alike. Inclusion is incorporated into program design and event planning. For example, a) In September, 2014 President hosted an appreciation social event for staff members, board directors, volunteers and donors, b) dietary restrictions and subject preferences were taken into account at recent 2014 international conference.
To ensure fairness, we strive to have a minimum of two JFLT volunteers interview each client. To ensure privacy, interviews are conducted in private offices. When language is a barrier, JFLT will supply a translator or allow the client to bring a translator of his/her own. When distance is a barrier, SKYPE or telephone interviews can be arranged. Special accommodation is made for ultra orthodox men and women who cannot be alone with individuals of the opposite sex. Special accommodation such as ASL translators or personal support workers is made available for the disabled.
It is the mandate of the new marketing committee to reach those sectors of the population which are the neediest and which may not be aware of our services. To remove barriers, the committee designs marketing material in English, Hebrew, Spanish and Russian and does outreach to these communities.
The office is run in a collaborative manner with an open-door policy. Employees are encouraged to play a role in the decision-making process and to pursue activities which actualize their potential. Hours are flexible and designed to help accommodate staff to deal with such issues as child and elderly parent care. Office staff members meet weekly to assess morale, share suggestions and enhance collaboration.