GAME CHANGER! With $38m gift, Hillel International Launches Talent Grants

These grants will not just transform Hillel, but transform the Jewish world.”
Eric D. Fingerhut

To applause, followed by a standing ovation and dropping balloons, Hillel International announced the launch of Hillel Talent Grants, a new initiative which will infuse campus Hillels with the resources needed to recruit, train and retain talented professionals who will inspire every Jewish student to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. The $38 million program, funded through a multi-year gift from The Marcus Foundation, will award grants to local Hillels tailored to each campus’ specific needs to advance their path toward excellence. The announcement was made last night to an audience of 850 at Hillel International’s Global Assembly in Orlando, Florida.

The grant is the largest single gift in Hillel’s history, and one of the largest programmatic gifts ever in the Jewish world.

The new program will allow Hillel International to continue to prioritize talent development for every campus Hillel and help keep young Jewish professionals working in the Hillel movement and the Jewish community. Hillel Talent Grants will award more than 500 grants per year.

Through Hillel Talent Grants, local Hillels will receive targeted funding in four categories:

  • Recruiting and Onboarding: to enable local Hillels to recruit excellent professionals;
  • Retention and Promotion: to retain top talent, including supplements to salaries and other incentives;
  • Professional Development: to support individual and group trainings that will enable Hillel professionals to gain expertise in their target areas of growth;
  • Technology Upgrades: to enable all Hillel professionals to participate fully in online learning and professional development opportunities through investments in IT infrastructure.

“This core investment in Hillel’s talent initiatives is evidence that the Jewish philanthropic community recognizes Hillel’s vital role in shaping the future of the Jewish world,” said Eric D. Fingerhut, President and CEO of Hillel International. “With the creation of Hillel Talent Grants, campus Hillels will now have the critical resources at their disposal to recruit, train and retain the talented staff they need to engage all Jewish students.”

Hillel International has made talent development a top priority in The Drive to Excellence, it’s strategic implementation plan, which seeks to identify and implement best practices for local Hillels to increase engagement with every Jewish student on campus.

“Talented professionals are the most important element to any successful enterprise,” Fingerhut continued. “This generous support from The Marcus Foundation will enable Hillel to invest in the field professionals who engage and inspire Jewish students on college campuses across the country and around the world, building a stronger Jewish community for future generations.”

Hillel is the largest entry-level employer of the major North American Jewish organizations. It is virtually impossible to find a synagogue, federation or Jewish foundation that does not have at least one former Hillel professional on its team. Hillel’s investment in talent will allow professionals with specific skills to stay and grow within the Hillel movement and the broader Jewish community.

“These grants will not just transform Hillel, but transform the Jewish world,” Fingerhut added.

Last month, Hillel International announced the creation of Hillel U, a cutting-edge professional continuing education program, designed to help Hillel professionals grow and thrive in their current roles and future careers. The first area of focus within Hillel U is the Center for Jewish and Israel Education, funded by a multi-year gift from the Maimonides Fund, to grow the Jewish knowledge for all Hillel professionals.

Hillel launched the Springboard Fellowship earlier this year to recruit and train young Jewish professionals in new skills including design, digital strategy and social media, and place them on local Hillel campuses. Last year, in partnership with The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Hillel joined with Moishe House and BBYO to form the Talent Alliance, a pioneering global initiative to collectively attract and retain talented employees. And, on the HR side, Hillel’s Parental Leave Policy is considered the gold standard among Jewish organizations.

To learn more about Hillel’s talent initiatives, visit: