Hillel International Receives $16 Million Grant From Jim Joseph Foundation

Hillel Drive to ExcellenceHillel International has received a new $16 million grant over five years from the Jim Joseph Foundation, positioning the organization to provide significantly more and better educational experiences to Jewish students on college campuses. The Foundation’s grant – the largest it has ever awarded – comes as Hillel begins its Drive to Excellence, which will help campuses and communities around the world implement the best practices for supporting Jewish student life.

Hillel is following an ambitious business plan, developed over the last year, which offers a detailed set of activities to help the organization achieve the goals outlined in the Drive to Excellence. The plan paints a rich picture of what it means to be an “excellent Hillel” – from a dynamic range of programs to nurturing a supporting environment for personal growth – and presents three pillars on which Hillel is building to achieve this excellence: 1) Recruiting and Developing Talent, 2) Student Engagement, and 3) Resource Development. With these funds, the Schusterman International Center will focus significant attention on building a robust talent pipeline, increasing the financial resources available across the movement and ensuring that data, best practices and services for achieving the desired student outcomes are accessible to all. The Jim Joseph Foundation hopes this investment catalyzes others to help Hillel develop its capacity to address all of these areas and to track and measure its success.

A guiding principle in Hillel’s efforts is the critical role of the Jewish educator, both in developing meaningful relationships with students and in having the skills to impart Jewish learning. In 2008, with a grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation, Hillel launched its Senior Jewish Educator/Campus Entrepreneur Initiative pilot program, which demonstrated the combined power of talented educators and students committed to engaging their friends. Building on this initial Jim Joseph Foundation-Hillel partnership, the Foundation’s new grant to Hillel represents an increasingly deep partnership between funder and grantee.

The Foundation and Hillel both note that Hillel’s impact on students is seen long after they graduate, with many of them participating in post-college Jewish young adult life in their local communities and working as Jewish professionals. Hillel recently has begun to more proactively encourage the “pipeline of involvement” through deepened partnerships with BBYO and Moishe House.