Jewish Social Change Organizations Awarded $1,000,000 in Grants Through Jewish Funders Network Matching Grant Initiative

Jewish organizations working on lasting systemic and cultural change, that engage people across lines of difference, and that have a proven track record of collaborations in and outside of the Jewish social change sector, received more than $500,000 in grants in the second round of a matching fund supported by seven foundations in partnership with the Jewish Funders Network.

The $1 million Jewish Social Change Matching Fund was designed to grow philanthropic investment in the U.S. Jewish social change field. The first round of $500,000 in matching grants was awarded at the end of last year.

Our partnership with seven leading foundations in this field is a prime example of how our network of funders is uniquely positioned to collaborate, maximize their individual impact, and collectively confront the critical social injustices faced by our nation,” Andrés Spokoiny, JFN’s President and CEO told eJP.

Mr. Spokoiny also noted that “this initiative illustrates how JFN’s matching grant initiatives have the power to inspire funders to significantly increase their giving while dramatically expand a field.” He added that “JFN is looking forward to supporting the matched funders as they drive this blossoming field to the next level.”

The fund provided 1-to-1 matches up to $50,000 of grants to organizations and projects that address root causes of injustice through a Jewish lens. They were selected from a highly competitive application pool because of their impressive work elevating social change to the center of Jewish life and advancing an explicitly Jewish framework for issues including poverty and hunger, civil rights, the safety and security of women, and the environment.

Funders from across the country were inspired to make new and significantly increased gifts in order to be matched. Alan Bloch shared that he and his fellow trustees of the Philip and Muriel Berman Family Foundation were moved to support NewGround: A Muslim Jewish Partnership for Change because of its “transformational effect on the social issues that face Jews and non-Jews alike.”

Ronald Weiner, another matched funder, remarked that he “decided to more than double his gift to be a partner of the Center for Community Leadership at JCRC-NY” because it “celebrates diversity and convenes community leaders to work together despite their differences.”

JFN and the investing partners were not the only collaboration represented in this initiative. For example, the Fingerhut Family Foundation collaborated with the Weiser Family Foundation to fund a local partnership in St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, between the National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Community Action, and the Jewish Community Relations Council. Amy Rosenblatt Lui of the Fingerhut Family Foundation explained that “collaboration is a key component for success in social justice and advocacy work. Speaking and working together as Jews can bring a powerful message of change.” Both the Fingerhut and the Weiser Family Foundation gifts were matched.

JFN will host opportunities for the matched funders to build partnerships and develop the social change field beginning this fall with an exciting menu of programs planned around the country.

The 16 organizations that will be awarded grants in the second round: AVODAH; Brandeis University International Center for Ethics Justice and Public Life; COEJL; Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life; Hebrew Free Loan of San Francisco; JCRC of Greater Boston; JCRC of New York; Jewish Council on Urban Affairs; Jewish Women International; Jewish Youth for Community Action; Jews United for Justice; Keshet; Matan; a partnership in Minnesota between NCJW, JCA, and JCRC; Netiya; and NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change. In all, 35 organizations and collaborations across the country received matching grants ranging in size from $15,000 to $50,000 through this initiative.

The foundations supporting the fund are: the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation; Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation; Nathan Cummings Foundation; Naomi & Nehemiah Cohen Foundation; Dorot Foundation; Walter & Elise Haas Fund; and Righteous Persons Foundation.

The Jewish Funders Network matching grants initiatives are part of an innovative strategy to increase the base contributions of major funders for a given field of Jewish philanthropy. This year, JFN has partnered in three matching grant initiatives resulting in more than $10M in grants to develop the Jewish social change, Jerusalem urban and cultural renewal, and workforce development fields. Matching grant initiatives run by JFN have generated more than $80 million in new funding for causes including Jewish education and day schools, helping the Jewish elderly and poor, and environmental protection in Israel.