Collective Investment Positions Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies for Growth

photo courtesy Pardes
photo courtesy Pardes

The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies known for inspiring life-long connections to Jewish life and to Israel, has announced that over the last year multiple foundations have collectively invested more than $4 million in Pardes, supporting a major business planning process and positioning it to achieve meaningful growth and institutional sustainability. Major gifts from the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Crown Family and the David S. and Karen A. Shapira Foundation will support and help expand a variety of Pardes initiatives. This includes the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators (PCJE), which operates the Pardes Day School Educators Program (PEP), the Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project (PEASP), the Pardes Experiential Educators Program, and other educator training programs. Taken together, these investments represent a major vote of confidence in Pardes moving forward.

The Jim Joseph Foundation, long the major supporter of PEASP, recently awarded a four-year grant of up to $3.7 million to PCJE and PEASP; funds from this grant in years three and four (totaling up to $1,823,000) will serve as a 1-to-1 match to funds raised by Pardes for PCJE. Earlier this year, the Crown Family awarded a major two-year grant to support PCJE and the David S. and Karen A. Shapira Foundation made several major grants for general support and business planning. In addition to these grants announced this year, the AVI CHAI Foundation has also provided Pardes with significant support recently, awarding $3.2 million for PEP and PCJE development in 2011 and $482,000 to support the newly-established Office of the President and CEO in 2012.

Olive Grove Consulting worked with Pardes on its business planning process, which was supported specifically by the Jim Joseph Foundation, The AVI CHAI Foundation, and the David S. and Karen A. Shapira Foundation. Pardes’s comprehensive business plan outlines a strategy for Pardes to pursue greater institutional sustainability, to stabilize its core programs and to grow its activity in North America. It also envisions construction of a new, state-of-the-art facility in Jerusalem. As part of this strategy, three new development positions will be added to help raise funds needed to support PCJE’s growth and success.

Pardes also plans to grow its alumni engagement, in part through PEASP, which has been successful in helping to retain PEP alumni in the field and in creating an environment of support for teachers. These alumni and others promote Jewish learning and literacy by connecting all kinds of learners to Israel, the Jewish people, their heritage and traditional Jewish texts. Today, more than 1,000 Pardes graduates work as Jewish professionals in a variety of sectors in the Jewish community, including more than 300 as professionals in education; more than 85 as Hillel professionals; and more than 350 as rabbis across all movements. In total, Pardes educators reach more than 5,000 students in Jewish day schools and other educational settings on a daily basis in classrooms that integrate Jewish studies with 21st-century learning, in engaging tefilah (prayer) encounters and in experiential Jewish identity formation.