London, May 4, 2017: For the first time, Limmud has awarded micro-grants to advance the financial sustainability of Limmud groups around the globe. The grants were made possible by UJA-Federation of New York, which began supporting intensive financial sustainability training for Limmud volunteer leaders last September.
“We want these micro-grants to have macro impact,” said Limmud Chair David Hoffman. “By building infrastructure and sustainable systems, Limmud is helping groups around the world to secure their future.”
Since limited micro-grants were available, Limmud groups from around the world were asked to send in applications pitching innovative ideas for the use of the funds. A panel of top Limmud leaders evaluated them and awarded micro-grants to Limmud Buenos Aires, Limmud FSU Israel, Limmud Oz Melbourne, Limmud South Africa, and Limmud Winnipeg. In addition, six Limmud groups in Israel will share a micro-grant.
The micro-grants reflect two significant changes in Limmud, Hoffman explained. “First, Limmud as an umbrella organization is investing directly in helping to empower local groups, aimed at ensuring the sustainability of each Limmud community. Second, the groups themselves are, in this way, becoming more aware of what they can do to ensure that their grassroots organizations are financially stable, which supports sustainability in other areas, like volunteer leadership.”
Limmud Buenos Aires, for example, is unifying its CRM database. Its President Fernando Rubin, a banker in his day job, is excited about Limmud’s future in Argentina. “The Limmud micro-grant is enabling our platform to send segmented communications for community members and interface more effectively with our stakeholders, positioning us for ongoing growth,” Rubin said. Limmud Buenos Aires also plans to share its database system with other Spanish-speaking Limmuds to leverage the opportunity.
Limmud FSU Israel is applying its micro-grant to strengthen and expand its volunteer base – the backbone of every Limmud community – by deepening skills and tools in fundraising and communications, among other areas.
Later in May, Limmud South Africa’s leadership will convene in Johannesburg for extensive financial sustainability training, with a heavy emphasis on fundraising, led by a fundraising expert from England. “This micro-grant will not only help us ensure Limmud South Africa’s longevity and financial sustainability, it enables us to move from our successful start-up phase to financial and communal maturity,” said Limmud SA National Chair Adina Roth, who is a clinical psychologist and Jewish educator.
As a result of the financial sustainability training in Prague in September 2016 and during Limmud Conference in the UK in December 2016, each Limmud community has become more knowledgeable about preparing budgets and improving governance structures. They have also learned valuable skills in identifying and accessing new fundraising opportunities. “We are grateful to UJA-Federation of New York for their partnership and wisdom,” said Limmud Chief Executive Eli Ovits. “They had the vision to identify that these micro-grants could enhance the long term sustainability of groups around the world. The launch of these first initiatives demonstrates that important changes are underway.”
Limmud, the international network of Jewish learning communities, was founded in the UK in 1980, with 75 participants. Today, there are 84 communities in 44 countries spanning six continents. In 2016, 4,000 volunteers ran 74 Limmud events which drew 40,000 participants.