All Together Now

Robin Sachs
Thursday, February 25th, 2010
robin lectern
Sometimes one phone call can change your life. Robin Sachs never anticipated the impact of the call from an art director she'd worked with before. He told her he was developing an ad campaign and he wanted her to take photos of Jewish Family Service (JFS), a nonprofit in Dallas. As a professional photographer, Robin had worked with agencies and non-profits, but this project would prove to be different. It wasn't that this ad campaign won the New York Art Directors Award-her photography had won many awards. The difference was in the agency, JFS.

The more she learned about JFS, the more impressed she was. When asked to serve on the marketing committee, she accepted. Soon after, she joined the board. Now, almost fifteen years later, Robin looks back from her position as president of JFS, and says it's the continuum of care that makes JFS special. If a family walks in to use the food pantry, the parents can find job placement assistance, the kids can get counseling, and the grandparents can take advantage of the gerontology services. There are family violence programs, case management, and emergency assistance outreach. They provide emotional and social support for people in need, regardless of age, ethnicity, religion or ability to pay. JFS is one of only two North Texas agencies accredited by the National Council on Accreditation.


Robin told us that since taking a prominent role with JFS, she's more aware of the needs in the community, and it's given her a different perspective. She says, "I have grown up in North Dallas and been blessed with a privileged life, supportive family and great friends.  BUT, not everyone is doing so well in North Dallas, even though it sometimes appears that way." People who used to be donors to the agency are now clients of the services offered. At the same time, many who used to be clients of the agency are now donors. She also discovered fundraising skills she never suspected. Hard choices have to be made on how to use resources and when to take advantage of contacts to further the goals of the agency. One contact was able to arrange the presence of Diane Von Furstenberg, a passionate supporter of women in business, at this year's JFS Woman-To-Woman luncheon on May 17.
Robin was president-elect for two years and is reaching the end of her two-year term as president. She oversees an agency materially different from the one she first photographed for that ad campaign. Hurricanes Katrina and Ike and the worst financial situation in recent memory have created greater need and, at the same time, greater opportunity, but the biggest impact of these crises has been in the number and intricacy of collaborations. JFS currently provides mental health counseling services in partnership with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The JFS food pantry is affiliated with North Texas Food Bank, and a new second food pantry in the Vickery Meadow area is a collaboration with several partners including Catholic Charities. A program called Weaving Webs of Womanhood in city middle schools helps mothers of girls between 9 and 12 improve bonds with their daughters.


Robin's phone never stops ringing these days. Her hard work and commitment are evident. When she speaks of the over 7000 clients served by the various programs last year, she expresses the heart of the agency, not just the services and policies.
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