JFCS 2019-2020 Annual Report

Annual Report Introduction from JFCS President & CEO Dr. Jordan Golin
Annual Report Overview from JFCS Board Chair Jillian F. Zacks, Esq.


Dr. Jordan Golin, President & CEO
Dana Gold, Chief Operating Officer
Cindy Paganico, Chief Financial Officer


Jillian F. Zacks, Esq., Board Chair
Eric J. Perelman, Vice Chair
Carol Robinson, Vice Chair
Scott I. Americus, Treasurer
David R. Lassman, Secretary
Peter J. Lieberman, At-Large
Jason Baim
David Brent

Rachel Brown Clark
Evan J. Durst
Cindy Gerber
Lissa Guttman
Noah R. Jordan, Esq.
Matthew A. Keller, MD
Rebecca Knoll
Shanna Kovalchick

Ilyssa Manspeizer, PhD
Laura Mullen
Somer Obernauer, Jr.
Barry Rabkin
Stacey Reibach
Raimee Gordon
Kannu Sahni
Larry Schwartz

JFCS Career Development Center logo

Competitive, professional employment services and solutions for individuals and organizations.

JFCS Career Development Center highlights from Director Sarah Cole Welch



In its sixth year, the EmployAble program, with support from United Way, was successfully expanded at Duquesne University and Point Park University to support young adults who have mental health challenges or are on the autism spectrum. The program has begun a new pilot at Argo AI to help implement procedures that increase neurodiversity hiring and create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace environment.

The Immigrant Workforce Program (IWP) is a JFCS program provided in partnership with Literacy Pittsburgh which is designed to provide a cohort of foreign-born job seekers with necessary skills to navigate the American workforce while also developing their English language skills. Attendance was high, and group members began arranging their own English conversation groups and practice groups for interviewing skills. As the participants began to know and trust each other, they started to open up and shared stories and anecdotes.


  1. Helped nearly 200 clients access unemployment compensation.
  2. Adapted 15 workshops and employer events to a virtual format.
  3. Disseminated employment resources for job seekers and professionals across Allegheny County.
  4. Oversaw 58 youth through the City/County paid summer Learn And Earn program.
  5. Transitioned Immigrant Workforce Program to online model in less than 2 weeks once stay-at-home order was issued.

JFCS Counseling Services logo

Supportive psychological services for children, adults, couples, families and organizations.

JFCS Counseling Services highlights from Director Stefanie Small, LCSW



This year was the first commemoration of the synagogue shooting at Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha, Dor Hadash, and New Light. Under the umbrella of the 10.27 Healing Partnership, JFCS continues to provide therapy, support groups and other healing services. Additional support was implemented for the commemoration, holidays and other milestones to help each family and the community heal.

Teenagers today face mental health challenges not adequately addressed by existing services. JFCS secured seed funding for UpStreet, an innovative teen mental health walk-in center where kids can drop-in for counseling, alternative therapy and self-directed activities. As the center is being built, therapy and support groups are available—with text-based mentoring on the horizon.


  1. Transitioned to virtual support groups and expanded offerings.
  2. Moved to telehealth and telemedicine with counseling clients.
  3. Launched a community hotline with the support of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Caring for those who are unable to make decisions for themselves and have no one to care for them.

JFCS Guardianship Services highlights from Director Nicole Iole
guardianship numbers




JFCS Guardianship Services has maintained staff, with zero turn-over, for 11 years. Clients largely come from unsafe and unstable environments where they have been victimized by abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment, and we successfully place them in safe and nurturing settings. Staff longevity builds strong, trusting relationships with clients, which contributes to success.

woman dancing

The court assigned JFCS guardianship over a woman in her 60s who had been kept in a cage for most of her life. She couldn’t walk or do many things on her own, and JFCS staff were not sure if it was due to severe disabilities or to the shocking conditions she was kept in. After several months in JFCS’s care, she is now able to walk, use utensils on her own, say words, and even dance.


  1. Monitored and communicated with clients and service providers through virtual platforms.
  2. Safely delivered food to several clients.
  3. Provided masks and other health and cleaning supplies to clients.
  4. Set clients up with transportation virtually by using services and apps like Uber and Lyft.

JFCS Immigration Legal Services

Legal services and support relating to naturalization, green card assistance and more for individuals looking to gain U.S. citizenship.

JFCS Immigration Legal Services highlights from Director Jamie Englert
immigration legal services numbers



With the support of the Opportunity Fund, Hillman Foundation and Heinz Endowment, services were expanded to six different neighborhoods throughout Allegheny County and the surrounding areas to better assist clients in the communities where they live. The expansion included training and mentoring pro bono attorneys to help serve a larger number of clients.

JFCS Immigration Legal Services holds grants to provide legal aid to unaccompanied children in the Pittsburgh region. Over the past year, the program expanded, doubling the size of the staff and serving an additional shelter in West Virginia. In FY19-20, we helped more than 200 Unaccompanied Children in removal proceedings who were placed in the Greater Pittsburgh Area and in West Virginia.


  1. Transitioned to assisting clients with completing green card and citizenship applications via telephone or virtual appointments.
  2. Created virtual information sessions for community members.
  3. Kept clients and stakeholders informed about changes in immigration policy and implementation using social media.

JFCS refugee and immigrant services

Welcoming our newest neighbors with comprehensive refugee resettlement services and resources for immigrants.

JFCS Refugee & Immigrant Services highlights from Director Leslie Aizenman, MPPM
JFCS refugee and immigrant services number



The refugee and immigrant peer support groups grew by 50% this year with 74 groups spanning nine ethnic communities including Bhutanese, Iraqi, Turkish, Latino, Uzbek, Congolese, Somali, and Korean. Each group is led by a refugee or immigrant leader, trained to recruit and facilitate groups with their peers in their language while embracing their culture and traditions.

The Matching Grant program helps new refugees who are ready to work find jobs shortly after their arrival, allowing them to become financially independent without cash assistance programs. This year, JFCS reported 87% of cases were economically self-sufficient in just 4 months (12 percentage points above the HIAS network average) and 95% of cases were economically self-sufficient in 6 months (9 percentage points above the HIAS network average). JFCS’s reported outcomes brought the HIAS network average up by 2 percentage points nationwide.


  1. Welcomed seven new refugee families to the United States during the pandemic.
  2. Established individualized plans with all clients to best support them during COVID-19, ensuring critical needs such as food, housing and medical care were met.
  3. Trained 22 refugee-immigrant peer support leaders as Community Health Deputies to educate their communities about COVID-19.
  4. Distributed 60 computers, 20 smart phones and over $37,000 in emergency funding.
  5. Applied for unemployment compensation for 108 clients and assisted with their weekly and biweekly claims.

Supporting older adults, family members and caregivers through the joys and challenges of aging.

JFCS Senior Services highlights from Director Stefanie Small, LCSW



After a decade of in-house development and use, JFCS expanded the PFMIpro, an outcome measurement app to help service providers assess older adults and keep them healthy and independent in the community. Agencies across the country have begun licensing PFMIpro to help achieve similar results with the seniors they serve.

The AgeWell Pittsburgh Information and Referral Line celebrated 20 years of support to older adults, senior service professionals, neighbors and loved ones in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. It helps thousands of callers annually with many different issues related to aging. AgeWell Pittsburgh is an award winning collaboration of JFCS, JCC and JAA, helping local seniors maintain their independence.


  1. Adapted AgeWell Visits to provide over 360 televisits to seniors.
  2. Assessed seniors remotely using PFMIpro and provided intervention to prevent decline.

JFCS squirrel Hill food pantry logo

Food assistance and supportive social services for families and individuals who are hungry and in critical need.

JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry highlights from Director Matthew Y. Bolton



To improve awareness of services in the community, staff facilitated poverty education classes, nutrition education classes, cooking classes, as well as tailored programs about the pantry and critical needs support. The “Let’s Talk” series was launched for social service professionals to discuss critical underlying challenges like housing, employment and financial crisis.

A disabled senior veteran in the community had his niece in another state call the food pantry after he was referred by 911. He lives alone and relies on ACCESS for transportation. His neighbor had been doing grocery runs for him but hadn’t contacted him in 4 weeks, and he was low on food. Because he was unable to leave his home, the pantry staff delivered emergency food to his house and helped him connect with local resources to ensure he had the supports he needed.


  1. Retained all five days of weekly operations and adapted services to keep staff and clients safe.
  2. Pre-bagged items and distributed food safely to clients.
  3. Delivered food to homebound neighbors struggling with food insecurity.
  4. Served an additional 35 families with critical needs support through the SOS Pittsburgh program.
  5. Supported regular clientele of over 1500 people in addition to emergency clients from the Greater Pittsburgh Area.

Our Staff


Dr. Jordan Golin, President & CEO
Dana Gold, Chief Operating Officer
Cindy Paganico, Chief Financial Officer


Jessica Fine, Accountant
Susan Kohser, Billing/Fiscal Administrator
Alliene Lees, Fiscal/Payroll Administrator
Jackline Oduogo, Associate Accountant
Bill Orr, Fiscal Assistant
Marcia Siegel, Fiscal Operations Administrator
Angie Taggart, Accounting Associate


Rebecca Remson, Director of Development and Communications
Elaine Dalfen, Development Associate
Allie Reefer, MID, Public Relations Specialist
David Offord, Business Development & Strategic Marketing Specialist
Juliana Akor, PFMIpro Customer Success Specialist


Susan Jablow, Grant Writer


Alice I. Vernon, Executive Secretary/Office Manager
Dawn Nash, Administrative Assistant


Sarah Cole Welch, Director
Erin Barr, Career Counselor
Pam Day, Career Consultant
Robin Farabee-Siers, Career Consultant
Pamela A. Harris,  Career Counselor
Justin Kelly, Career Consultant
Lisa Lenhart, Career Counselor
Kaitlyn Myers-Brooks, Career Counselor

George R. Ponticello, Career Consultant
Chris Rippee, Career Counselor
Gina Sapienza, Volunteer and Administrative Coordinator
Tamara Abney, Employer Relations Specialist
Wendy Solomon, Client Intake Specialist
Bishnu Timsina, Career Consultant
Jeanne Williams, Career Consultant
Gretchen Young, Program Assistant

AJ Arnett, Career Consultant
Bethany Taylor, Career Counselor

Consultants, Interns, AmeriCorp.
Sophia Mastroianni, AmeriCorp
Julie Thornton, Client Consultant
Brandi Schweizer, Intern
Bindhya Neupaney, Intern
Marcia Hoinville, AmeriCorp


Stefanie Small, LCSW, Director of Clinical Services
Aprilynn Artz, LPC, School Based Consultant
Bari Benjamin, LCSW, BCD , Psychotherapist
Erin Barr, LCSW, UpStreet Clinical Coordinator
Ellie Bruner, MSW, MPS, Clinical Administrator and Program Coordinator
Sandra Budd, LCSW, Psychotherapist and Geriatric Care Coordinator

Amanda Chamberlain, LPC, Psychotherapist
Ariel Gildengers, MD, Psychiatrist
Wendy Levin Shaw, LCSW, Psychotherapist
Maria Luczkow, LCSW, Psychotherapist
Kelli McElhinny, LCSW, Psychotherapist and Geriatric Care Coordinator
Scarlet McNeal, Medical Records Administrator
Angelica Joy Miskanin, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, Psychotherapist

Kelly Moore, MA, ATR-P, Psychotherapist
Lulu Orr, Care Navigator
Stephanie Rodriguez,   School Consultation Counseloe
Scott Schreiber, LCSW, Psychotherapist
Heather Ufberg, PsyD, Psychotherapist
Meredith Woods, Project Manager

Sonia Bajwa, LCSW


Nicole Iole, Director
Mallory Branham, Guardianship Case Manager
Patty McKeown, Guardianship Case Manager
Rozie Robinowitz, Guardianship Fiscal Department
Devin Shuman, Guardianship Case Manager
Bill Orr, Fiscal Assistant


Jamie Englert, Director
John Cavicchio, Family Attorney
Svetlana Geguzina, Accredited Representative
James Green, Paralegal
Samuel Kainz, Administrative Assistant
Yanina Malaver, Paralegal
Orlando Portela, Immigration Attorney​
Joyce Ramirez, Immigration Attorney
Rachel Rodgers, Paralegal
Megan Walker, Immigration Attorney
Julianna Warner, Paralegal
Jacquelyn Wise, Accredited Representative

Rachel Bridges

Danilo Arantes
Jesse Barrad
Molly Campbell
Jocelyn Converse
Loretta Donoghue
Marie Lester
Yahya Mangal
Keilah Vidal

Volunteer (in-house) Attorneys:
Padma Chivukula
Hilary Spatz
Keith Whitson

Partner Firms:
K&L Gates
Morgan Lewis & Bockius
PNC Attorneys
Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis


Leslie Aizenman, MPPM, Director
Kristen Abdullah, Service Coordinator
Hussein Aladdin, Senior Employment Specialist
Sawsan Alobaidi, Employment Specialist
Viola Byegeka, BSW, Intensive Case Manager
Caley Donovan, Caseworker
Veronica Gonzalez, MSW, Program Coordinator
Brenda Lee Green, MA, Department Supervisor
James Green, Intake Coordinator
Abby Jo Krobot, Caseworker
Pralad Mishra, Service Coordinator
Kaitlyn Molinaro, MSW, Lead Service Coordinator
Oydinoy Nazarova, M. Ed., Service Coordinator
Emily Pence, MSW, Service Coordinator
Alla Puchinsky, Ph.D, Caseworker
Allie Reefer, MID, Service Coordinator
Yesmina Salib, Program Coordinator
Elizabeth Sheridan, MSW, LSW, Medical Caseworker
Michelle Tecza, Employment Administrator
Michele Texter, Intensive Case Manager
Andrew Van Treeck, Volunteer Coordinator
Simone Vecchio, MID, Program Coordinator

Juliette Green
Alexis Prettiman

Kristen Abdullah
Kiyomi Knox

Heidi Monge
Siani Null
Theresa Ortiz
Matthew Pribis
Lizzie Shields
Anna Weiland

Bhanu Acharya
Haydar Al Ebousi
Sarab Ali
Laziz Alimukhamedov
Alice Avotri
Edem Avotri
Sonia Bajwa
Ana Bakhtar
Ganga Baral
Luz Adriana Garcia Becerra
Kabar Bhandari
Lok Mahat Bhandari
Judy Berkowitz
Chala Bita
Azadeh Block 
Samuel Bomera
Carlina Cabeza
Mastoorah Fazly
Noorulhaq Fazly
Svetlana Gadjieva-Chevillard
Bimala Gurung
Til Gurung
Luley Haji

Jeffrey Herzog
Chooda Homagai
Than Than Htway
Fatima Jawad
Mulume Kazimoto
Nelly Kageha Kiriza
Joshua Kivuva
Maria Lar
Roding Lian
Pralad Mishra
Celestin Mpagaze
Barungire Mpanzu
Maskhura Mukhidinova
Julie Munsick
Nancy Mwangi
Ahmed Nsaif
Prabha Pokharel
Rup Pokharel
Dilli Pokhrel
Jessica Rodriguez
Ri Sa
Tika Sapkota
Zermina Sarwari
Riber Shweish
Zeyu Su
Serap Uzunoglu
Haba Wagner
Deborah Zabayo
Ivonne Zawadi


(JSS is a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, administered by JFCS)
Alayne Lowenberger, Director
Dana Himmel, Coordinator


Stefanie Small, LCSW, Director of Clinical Services
Holly Anderson, Caregiver Connection Coordinator
Ellie Bruner, MSW, MPS, Clinical Administrator and Program Coordinator
Sandra Budd, LCSW, Psychotherapist and Geriatric Care Coordinator
Linda Geistman, Caregiver Connection Administrator
Ariel Gildengers, MD, Psychiatrist
Maxine Horn, Information and Referral Specialist for AgeWell Pittsburgh

Ellen Leger, Eldercare Administrator
Kelli McElhinny, LCSW, Psychotherapist and Geriatric Care Coordinator
Shauneea Warden, Caregiver Connection Outreach Specialist

Marla Holland
Gabrielle Quinten


Matthew Y. Bolton, Director
Claire Burbea, LCSW, Social Service and Critical Needs Coordinator
Stacie Dow, MAFS, Coordinator
Arielle Kroser, Program Assistant
Kathleen Carr, Program Assistant
Jim Simeone, Aide
Hunter Milroy, MSS, Food Pantry Resource Specialist