A Three-Phase Model for Jewish Funders

By Vanessa Bernier

As Colorado and the rest of the world wrestle with the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 on public health, daily life and the economy, Rose Community Foundation remains committed to supporting Jewish life in our community. We understand that every Jewish organization in the Greater Denver region is feeling the impacts of this uncertain and disruptive environment, and we greatly value the work of our partners as they continue to provide services to – or on behalf of – our Jewish community.

As such, we have developed the following framework for our Jewish Life grantmaking in this unique moment. We believe this three-phase grantmaking approach can serve as a model for other Jewish funders as they plan their short- and long-term grantmaking responses to this pandemic.

PHASE I: Supporting Jewish organizations on the frontlines of COVID-19 prevention, containment and response. These grants will support organizations that provide direct services to populations most-vulnerable to – or directly impacted by – the medical and/or economic impacts of this pandemic. There is no application process for these dollars; we are in direct contact with organizations that meet these criteria and will be announcing these grants very soon.

PHASE II: Sustaining and nurturing Jewish life in this time of physical isolation. Because so many of our Jewish traditions involve congregating and coming together, these unprecedented times call for creativity and innovation to continue our connections to each other, our traditions and our community.

PHASE III: Helping to mitigate the economic disruption of COVID-19 on Jewish organizations’ financial health. Many organizations’ fundraising events and revenue streams have been disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions and related economic factors may exacerbate challenges with organization’s fiscal health.

Our staff has been – and will continue to be – participating in conversations with national and regional Jewish funders from around the country and world – both to advocate for national resources to support Colorado’s Jewish nonprofits and to stay abreast of how Jewish communities and funders from around the country are responding to this evolving situation.

Rose Community Foundation contributed $100,000 to help launch the Colorado COVID Relief Fund and is planning to begin our Phase I grantmaking next week.

Vanessa Bernier is Program Officer for Jewish Life at Rose Community Foundation.

Rose Community Foundation was chartered as a community foundation in 1995 and endowed with initial assets of more than $170 million from the sale of Rose Medical Center, a beloved hospital created by the Denver Jewish community in 1949. The Foundation proudly carries on the legacy of the hospital founders’ tradition of philanthropy, nondiscrimination and commitment to serving residents and enhancing the quality of life across the Greater Denver region.