JRS Is Now The Branch.
We’re still the same organization that has always been trusted by the Pittsburgh community. Our new name, “The Branch,” better represents our growth and expanded commitment to taking inclusion to new heights.
Why “The Branch"?
Ever extending. Ever growing. Branches provide support and strength for those who need it. As an organization, The Branch does the same by helping provide a positive environment so those we serve can reach higher and realize their full potential.
The logo visually incorporates the symbolic tree branch into the name as the “r” and subtly integrates the Star of David in alignment with our organization’s Jewish values.
Meet our team.
We are staffed with highly dedicated and highly qualified professionals who share a passion to help others.
Nancy E. Gale
Dr. Chrissy Whiting-Madison
Director, Sally and Howard Levin Clubhousecwhiting@thebranchpgh.org
Director, Community and Partnershipsakarabin@thebranchpgh.org
Our name may be new, but our mission is unchanged:
To support individuals with psychiatric, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, helping them to live, learn, work, and socialize as valued members of the community.
We hold true to our values
Regardless of where or how you engage The Branch, you’ll see our commitment to these core values:
- Enhance the dignity and self-worth of each person served
- Encourage personal growth, skill building, independence, and individual choice
- Assist individuals in becoming valued, contributing, and involved members of the community
- Provide assistance and support of the highest quality without time limit
- Offer a culturally rich, Jewish environment that is welcoming to people of all backgrounds
- Build upon the strengths of each individual and help restore a sense of hope for the present and the future
Thirty years. We call that a good start.
Over the past three decades, we’ve made a name for ourselves through the services we offer and the successes we’ve had in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill community and surrounding areas.
What began in 1993 as one residential program serving the needs of a handful of individuals in the Jewish community who were living with mental illness (that’s how we became Jewish Residential Services, or “JRS”) has evolved and expanded considerably.
Today, as The Branch, we have 15 highly qualified employees, a licensed and accredited Clubhouse, comprehensive supported living services, and a partnership that operates two—soon to be three—culturally Jewish group homes, and we serve and support more than 200 individuals and their families.
Our strategic plan maps the path forward in our mission to serve even more individuals and families from all walks of life within Squirrel Hill and, ultimately, throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area.
Our Partners make us stronger.
The following partners play a key role in the continued success of The Branch.
Our Board of Directors
President: *Josh Resnick
Vice President: *Deborah Rubin
Vice President: Danielle Katz
Treasurer: Mike Samuels
Secretary: *Cheryl Fogarty
Current Board Members
Cindy Berg Vayonis
Past President: *Lorrie Rabin
*Gerri L. Sperling – 2019 to 2021
*Judy Greenwald Cohen – 2016 to 2019
Reid B. Roberts – 2013 to 2016
*Nancy S. Elman – 2010 to 2013
*Jay Fingeret – 2008 to 2010
Ned Siegel – 2006 to 2008
E. J. Strassburger – 2003 to 2006
Libby Fishman (z”l) – 2000 to 2003
David Kalson – 1997 to 2000
Ruth Drescher – 1993 to 1997
Kathy Hurwitz – 1989 to 1993
* Denotes Life and Legacy Donor
We’re honored to recognize champions of inclusion in the Jewish community.
Shore-Whitehill Award and Breaking Down The Walls
Nominated by The Branch for his steadfast dedication to the inclusion of individuals with disabilities, Robert Levin received the Shore-Whitehill Award on February 23, 2023, in conjunction with the Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse’s “Breaking Down The Walls” event. With support from the Shore/Whitehill Endowment Fund, and in partnership with The Branch and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, this award is given annually to a champion of disability inclusion in the greater Pittsburgh community. The award presentation was the kickoff of “Breaking Down The Walls”, which featured Clubhouse members overcoming the stigma of mental illness by sharing stories of their mental health journeys.
Information about how to nominate someone can be found here.