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 for rent and utilities when a low income senior is at risk of losing their home. We also advocate for low income seniors at risk for homelessness with local city governments and lead the local a senior collaborative of agencies that coordinate their funding to assist seniors in emergent situations. JFS is also committed to providing low- to no-cost mental health counseling to anyone who needs it, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender identification, or sexual preference. JFS currently utilizes 8 therapists to offer these services, offering telecare and in-person services when the city, county, and state officials deem it safe to do so. JFS seeks to hire bilingual therapists in an effort to extend access to services by all Coachella Valley residents who need it.

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.

Number of returning volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of grants received

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success


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

JFS services are designed to improve community mental heath and financial stability. We utilize culturally-appropriate behavioral health counseling, offering both in-person and telecare services because both are needed. We work with partners to extend the reach of JFS services to communities where access has historically proven difficult, whether due to lack of transportation, poor Internet access, or fear that JFS operates as part of a "system" that may take advantage or otherwise punish members of marginalized communities.

JFS services support the mental, physical, and financial health of our clients, and all services are offered to Coachella Valley residents regardless of age, income, religion, or lifestyle. As leaders in the provision of local social services, JFS works with and/or refers to many local partners, including DAP Healthcare, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and the Braille Institute, to name a few. Collaborations include referrals between agencies but also opportunities to offer higher levels of support for individual households by "pooling" available support. Summer temperatures create potentially lethal situations for those without proper air conditioning. To replace a unit, for instance, for a local senior on fixed income who could not otherwise afford it requires several agencies to offer financial support. JFS is a reliable partner, able to lead and/or support similar efforts.

Financial support is obviously needed to support these efforts, and JFS utilizes a vigorous grants program as well as compelling philanthropic campaigns, calling upon our community to support its neighbors. Collaboration allows for judicious stewardship of valuable funding. Further, collaboration allows for JFS to work more often with members of the migrant community.

JFS works with local municipalities in several ways. The JFS Director of Community Outreach is working with the City of Palm Springs on a pilot program assessing the benefits of universal income. JFS is a member of the "Vaccine Buddies" initiative that sought to connect seniors without computer access to COVID vaccines and is now offering to connect anyone or any group who needs vaccination with an opportunity for a personal or information about public opportunities. And, JFS offers a volunteer-based transportation program ("JFS Express") that offers round-trips to/from doctor's offices, helping clients maintain their physical health.

JFS has an active staff of 20 people, including therapists, community outreach professionals, case managers, clerical/front office, financial/billing, and human resource staff. Our current Board of Directors consists of 20 concerned volunteers who eagerly support the agency's mission. Their varied experiences and desire to improve the quality of life for our struggling members greatly increases the agency's status in the community, leading to increasing philanthropic support.

JFS has consistently earned a Guidestar "Platinum" ranking and is currently a 3 of 4 Star Charity Navigator-rated agency (edging closer to the 4th star annually!). Our audited financial statements consistently illustrate a trustworthy provider of social services worthy of support, and evaluations and client testimonials support our position that JFS is a well-respected provider of impactful programs.

Our current financial statement indicates a healthy assets to liabilities ratio (6.1/1), and local service providers (including Riverside University Health System - Behavioral Health) consistently seek to work with our agency.

We currently have 60 volunteers who support the agency in many ways including Board of Directors participation, program assistance, and help with daily tasks in the Front Office and Finance Departments. JFS's impactful programs and ability to leverage connections to scale results increase our ability to meet our goals.

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.

We are currently in discussions with two agencies that may lead to more formal connections, leading to opportunities to offer more services to more people in more areas. Additionally, separate discussions with well-known providers of residential substance abuse treatment services may lead to the establishment of support services in the Coachella Valley that currently do not exist, but are needed.

JFS continues to offer needed services while assessing current gaps and needs in local services, assessing its ability to meet those needs, whether with existing or developing programs.

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.
  • 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

  • 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 04/26/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mrs. Joanne Chunowitz

Retired Educator

Term: 2020 - 2025

Barry Kaufman

retired accountant

Nona S 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

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

Renee Mayer

retired travel agent

Gail Scadron


Margie Kulp

retired social worker

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 2/8/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

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

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


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.