Covenant Foundation Announces New Grants

From an environmental curriculum based on Jewish values and real-time gardening, to Jewish educators immersed in cutting-edge digital tools and approaches, a new set of innovative and trailblazing initiatives are recipients of Covenant Foundation grants.

As part of approximately $1.6 million to be distributed this year, the Foundation announced today nearly $800,000 in new grants as part of its mission to support, advance and recognize excellence and impact in Jewish educational settings.

This new round of grants highlights a commitment to initiatives across the landscape of Jewish educational experiences, settings and audiences. Grantees include organizations dedicated to Jewish learning through technology, empowerment of students and teachers in environmental and other community issues, new media and youth engagement.

Foundation grants are divided into two categories: Signature grants, which provide funding for up to $250,000 for up to five years, and Ignition grants, of up to $20,000 for one year to support new and untested approaches.

“We are particularly interested in acknowledging creativity in Jewish education and going where risk and innovation co-mingle,” said Harlene Winnick Appelman, Executive Director of the Foundation. “These new grantees have ideas and approaches of great promise for success, effect and replication elsewhere. They are changing the face and nature of Jewish education.”

Signature grantees include:

  • Central Europe Center for Research and Documentation (Centropa), Silver Spring, MD: $154,650 over three years to further develop and expand a network of North American educators trained with and utilizing the organization’s educational model, materials and curricula focusing on 20th century Central European Jewish history.
  • Council of Jewish Émigré Community Organizations (COJECO), New York: $35,000 for one year to expand its New York-focused Project Gesher initiative to Boston. The project brings culturally appropriate, Russian-language Jewish education to pre-schoolers, families and college students in the Russian-Jewish émigré community.
  • The Consortium for the Jewish Family, Los Angeles: $100,000 for two years for Jewish Family Education 3.0: The Next Generation, an initiative to strengthen the field of Jewish family education and its practitioners through outreach and training of existing and emerging educators with conferences and use of social media, digital media and other technologies.
  • Darim Online, Charlottesville, VA: $150,910 for three years to redesign, strengthen and then recruit for its initiative to educate Jewish educational organizations about – and enhance strategic uses of – digital and social media technologies. The grant will also support parallel strengthening and growth of a professional development network for Jewish educators.
  • Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, New York: $130,450 over three years to continue and expand the Collegiate Immersion Program, a co-educational text-based summer program for college students that inspires participants to become knowledgeable and engaged members of the Jewish community through study of community issues, activism, and the building of leadership and teaching skills.
  • Hazon, New York: $70,000 over two years to develop Home for Dinner, a synagogue-driven food-based initiative to be piloted in the San Francisco Bay Area to promote, support and enhance Jewish family life with development of resource and how-to guides, and an educational and training network for synagogue school officials.
  • Hidden Sparks, New York: $150,000 over three years to create and enhance professional development curricula and programming for those educating learning-disabled students in Jewish schools and other Jewish educational settings, and to expand outreach and engagement to new cities.
  • Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA), New York: $50,000 over 18 months, to enhance Enriching LIFE (Lainer Interns for Education), a development and networking program for early-career Jewish educators to strengthen their commitment and success in the field of Jewish education.
  • Kayam Farm, Reisterstown, MD: $50,000 over two years to launch the Kayam Jewish Gardening Collective, a diverse group of Jewish institutions in the Baltimore area that will create educational gardens or orchards as venues to use Kayam-developed curricula focused on Jewish environmental values and teachings.
  • Moving Traditions, Jenkintown, PA: $150,000 over three years to further develop and launch the Campaign for Jewish Boys, an initiative to help formal and informal Jewish educators better serve, teach and reach Jewish teenage boys.
  • Repair the World, New York: $150,000 over three years to create a training program for Jewish service learning educators, strengthening the quality and effectiveness of Jewish service learning curricula and programming.
  • The Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, Milwaukee: $177,500 over three years to create an artists’ Beit Midrash, where participants will study and discuss Jewish text to inform their artistic creations, and a parallel Artists-in-Residence program. The program will expand to the Sabes Jewish Community Center in Minneapolis and Hillel at the University of Wisconsin – Madison after the first year of the pilot program in Milwaukee.
  • Solomon Schechter Day School Association, New York: $35,000 for one year to further develop Mekor Hayim, a interdisciplinary curriculum on Judaism and the environment, and to pilot it in five schools.
  • Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future, New York: $150,000 over three years to expand the Women’s Leadership Initiative, a multi-faceted program to train, empower and prepare Orthodox female teens and women to assume professional leadership roles in the Jewish community.

The new round of Ignition grantees include:

  • Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, Chicago: $20,000 for one year to expand and create a formal curriculum for the Chagit initiative, which links lower elementary school students among Jewish day schools throughout North America for Hebrew language study and other educational and social programs.
  • Congregation Neveh Shalom, Portland, OR: $19,200 for one year to expand its Kochavim and Notz’tzim student Hebrew language program to a neighboring synagogue, and to create Machon Ivrit, an intense Hebrew language program for adults in the Portland area.
  • Kings Bay YM-YWHA, New York: $20,000 for one year to create the YOZMA program, to offer a select group of promising Russian-Jewish teens internship, mentorship and professional development opportunities to position them as leaders in the Jewish community.
  • Women’s Jewish Learning Center, Scottsdale, AZ: $20,000 for one year to expand course offerings at the new center, the only non-denominational women’s adult education institution in the Phoenix area, creating a cadre of Jewish women positioned to take leadership positions in the community.
  • Yeshiva University Museum, New York: $20,000 for one year to train educators and pilot an arts education program at Jewish day schools and other venues in the New York metro area. The program is based on Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts methodology that accentuates critical thinking and interpretation of works of art.
  • Wilderness Torah, Oakland, CA: $20,000 for one year to develop the B’nai Mitzvah Nature-Mentoring Rite of Passage Program, an initiative serving Jewish youth ages 11 to 13 through experiential educational and personal development activities tying Jewish identity to the environment.

Since 1991, the Foundation has provided over $20 million to develop and support Jewish education and community-building projects and programs in North America.

Past grantees with creative and trailblazing approaches to Jewish education across denominations and settings are highlighted on the Foundation’s Website.

The Covenant Foundation is currently inviting 2011 Signature and Ignition grant applications. Applicants should visit for information and guidelines. The deadline for submitting an initial letter of inquiry is March 2, 2011.

The Covenant Foundation is a program of the Crown Family Foundation and the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA).