Jewish Family Service of the Desert

Our Valley Our Passion

aka JFS of the Desert   |   Palm Springs, CA   |


To provide for the social service needs of the Jewish and general community throughout the greater Coachella Valley with a commitment to promote the well being of persons of all ages, income and lifestyles.

Notes from the nonprofit

JFS Desert is a unique social service agency, offering in-person and telecare counseling; connection to available benefits such as Medi-Care, Section 8 housing vouchers, and others; emergency financial assistance for necessities such as overdue rent and utilities, food and medications; and interactive programs for isolating seniors. We coordinate the local Cafe' Europa program for our cherished Holocaust survivors, offering interactive programming and social services designed to help our senior age with dignity and to remain independent as long as possible. We chair or are on steering committees for several local collaboratives, leading to greater collaboration with community partners, and we work with several municipalities to administer support programs for residents of specific cities. We are often contacted by other providers who seek the opportunity to collaborate with JFS. Through its services, JFS offers stability and hope to those who often have neither.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Kraig Johnson

Main address

490 S. Farrell Drive Suite C208

Palm Springs, CA 92262 USA

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NTEE code info

Human Service Organizations (P20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

JFS is committed to preventing senior homelessness by providing assistance fro rent and utilities when a slow income senior is at risk for losing their home. We alo advocate for low income seniors at risk for homelessness with local city governments and are the leader of a senior collaborative of agencies that coordinate their funding to assist senior in emergent situations. JFS is also committed to providing no or low cost mental health to anyone who needs it regardless of ethnicity religion or gender identification or secual preference. . We have 10 therapists , 2 of whom are bilingual and 3 of whom are LBBT. We offer evening and Saturday appointments and have scholarships for those who cannot afford to pay for therapy.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Mental Health Couseling

mental health counseling for all ages , bilingual available

Population(s) Served

school counseling

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

providing emergency services for seniors at risk for losing her home

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

senior socialization programming for isolated low income seniors

Population(s) Served
Retired people

jewish citizens of the valley

Population(s) Served
Jewish people

in home visiting for seniors

Population(s) Served
Retired people


Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Average number of service recipients per month

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

LGBTQ people, Children and youth, People of Latin American descent

Related Program

Mental Health Couseling

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

This metric applies to all clients seen across all of our programs .. programs parameters and components change over time

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our vision is to improve the well being of our Coachella valley by preventing senior homelessness and providing culturally sensitive and affordable mental health counseling .

We also provide senior socialization programs at 6 sites throughout the valley to addresses senior depression and isolation. We also have counselors in 5 elementary schools to assist children in maintaining behavioral control so that they can benefit from classroom education.

Through all our efforts we wish to promote healthy and stable lives throughout our valley

We continually hire bilingual therapists and use both adult and teenage volunteers to meet the needs of our seniors. We also make sure that we are credentialed with every behavioral health insurance plan serving the valley to increase our ability to serve anyone needing mental health counseling.

We have a rigorous grant application program that yields over $600,000 in grants per year.

We also have a dedicated fundraiser and event planner who raises over $250,000 a year.

JFS partners with other agencies and is the lead on a mental health and senior collaboratives.

We have an active staff of 22 people including therapists, community outreach professionals, case managers, clerical/front office, financial/billing, and human resource staff.

We have a supportive Board of 21 members who have histories of success in the many facets of the business world.

We have 39 year history of successful fundraising and grant writing that has allowed JFS of the Desert to balance its budgets year after year as well as grow its reserves (which are at 6.1 / 1 ratio, assets to liabilities).

We are a thriving nonprofit offering 15,000 services to over 2300 unduplicated clients per year. Since the COVID pandemic, we have converted our programs to telecare, allowing us to continue to offer services in a safe, effective manner. This includes our outpatient mental health program, case management including the provision of emergency financial assistance for necessities such as overdue rent and utilities, food, and medications, and a community outreach program offering well-check phone calls and connections to food support, counseling, and/or financial assistance. We are one of the only sources of financial assistance for those without a valid form of identification, and we partner with local providers to offer services to members of the migrant community.

We have opened up case management to all ages, and we have been one of the only sources of financial assistance throughout the pandemic.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    JFS clients are residents of the Coachella Valley (California) who have a need for stabilization, whether that be emotional, financial, housing, etc. JFS serves all who have a need regardless of their race, religion, age, and lifestyle, and programs are offered based on noted community need. The agency is small enough to make substantial changes to programs, should the community need change. As an example, prior to the Federal government shut down and subsequent furloughing of employees in 2019, JFS only offered case management services to those 55 years old or older. Requests for support at that time were predominantly made by persons under 55 years of age, so the agency decided to open its case management program and connection to available benefits to all Coachella Valley residents.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Case management notes,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, JFS converted its programs and services to telecare. This created the need to register new clients remotely. Our efforts first started with a fillable pdf form, but client feedback regarding the difficulty of navigating the form, specifically the signature function, forced JFS to reconsider. The change to a Jotform based service has significantly decreased the time needed to register. Further, evaluations are now issued using the Jotform platform, making it easier and faster for clients to submit feedback. We know that this change is leading to an increase in document completion and, therefore, the provision of needed mental health counseling services.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Thankfully, JFS has always responded well to community requests, and programs have been altered based on stakeholder feedback or staff's recommendations throughout our existence. Further, our efforts to expand access to JFS services to all community members prompts the agency to consider client needs in negotiating services such as remote office space allowing those who live a considerable distance from the agency to connect (via telecare) to a JFS therapist. Both process and program changes are possible based on stakeholder feedback, so our system of gathering feedback allows the community to drive many aspects of JFS services.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve,


Jewish Family Service of the Desert

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Jewish Family Service of the Desert

Board of directors
as of 7/28/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mrs. Aviva Snow

Retired Realtor

Term: 2020 - 2022

Ed Cohen

retired attorney

Barry Kaufman

retired accountant

Nona Solowitz

Solowitz YEH Certified Public Accountants

Lee Erwin

Contour Dermatology

Oscar Armijo

Armijo and Associates Accounting Corporation

Audrey Bernstein


Michelle Carafiol


Joanne Chunowitz

retired reading specialist

Joan Freeman


Jerry Fogelson

semi-retired real estate developer

Loren Friend


Lois Gold

retired LCSW

Bob Goodfriend

business owner

Jan Gordon

retired VP of financial services

Debra Kay

retired business owner

Nancy Levine

independent realtor

Michael Saywitz

retired nonprofit executive

Gail Scadron


Sandy Seplow

retired financial consultant

Doran Veiner

retired business owner

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/25/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Multi-Racial/Multi-Ethnic (2+ races/ethnicities)
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/17/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.