Home Agencies JFS Richmond celebrates 175 Years of transforming lives

JFS Richmond celebrates 175 Years of transforming lives

Resettlement 1980s.

JFS Richmond is commemorating its 175th anniversary this year by honoring past achievements and plans to make an even greater impact by carrying on its legacy of partnering with other organizations and responding to the evolving needs of the community.


Zipporah Cohen led JFS as president from 1904 through 1937. The ladies made in-home visits to assist families struggling with desertion, delinquent youth, elder infirmities, and tuberculosis.

JFS Richmond was established in 1849 as the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Association. The nonprofit agency began with a group of Jewish women who cared for their families, neighbors and community, as well as wounded soldiers, during the Civil War.

In 1890s, they welcomed refugees from Europe and later, assisted victims of global pandemics like Tuberculosis and Spanish Flu.

JFS Richmond was founded on the concept of Tikkun Olam. The organization; made up of volunteers, leaders and staff, strives to make our community better by serving our neighbors in need –54% of JFS Richmond clients are low-income.

Over the last 10 years, JFS Richmond has positively impacted more than 52,000 area residents. This past year, we provided more than 4,000 Richmonders of all ages with 140,000 hours of services, including counseling, in-home care and care management, senior engagement, public/private guardianship, adoption, foster care services, Ukrainian resettlement services and more.

Over 325 individuals have received help through the Jewish Care Line since it was established.

JFS Richmond is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) achieving the highest standards for mental health and in-home care for seniors.

Additionally, it’s one of only a handful of agencies that accepts Medicaid for care and counseling services and one of just six agencies in Central Virginia with neuropsychologist diagnosing dementia.

As part of our vision for the future, JFS Richmond plans to expand services in critical program areas such as mental health for children and older adults, supporting family caregivers of individuals with cognitive decline and building capacity for in-home care by recognizing and valuing care aides.


JFS opens the Rap Center in the Fan District in the 1970s to serve troubled and runaway youth. The Rap Center later became the Daily Planet.

“Yes, we’re celebrating a legacy of care, counseling, and adoption, but we’re also looking ahead to the next 175 years. We are grateful to have a history that over and over demonstrates care for our community by responding to the needs of today and tomorrow,” states Wendy Kreuter, CEO of JFS Richmond since 2016.

“We understand JFS history is not just our organization’s history – it’s the history of Richmond, women, Jewish people, and all Americans. Through the devoted efforts of our team, we’ll work for another century doing what we do best – serving the Richmond community and repairing the world, one person at a time.”

To celebrate 175 years of positive impact in the community, JFS Richmond will be hosting two special events. Starting off our celebration with JFS’ Annual Meeting on June 10, at Congregation Beth Ahabah. This meeting will shine a light on our rich history as we plan for an even brighter future. Attendees for the Annual Meeting may RSVP via email at mhill@jfsrichmond.org or by phone at 804-349-0741.

On September 21, we will host our big “JFS Live at 175 with Andy Cohen,” event at the Dominion Energy Center. The event is by invitation only – to learn more, or if interested in attending, visit jfsrichmond.org.

Jewish Family Services is supported, in part, by a generous annual campaign contribution and programming and other grants from the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond.