Jim Joseph Foundation Announces $13 Million in Jewish Education Initiatives

Recent investments in Jewish education initiatives by the San Francisco-based Jim Joseph Foundation support immersive Israel experiences for teens and young adults, early childhood education (ECE) educator training, and leading institutions of Torah and text study whose graduates help create inclusive Jewish communities. The Foundation, which has awarded more than $450 million over 11 years, partners with organizations that create vibrant Jewish life and ongoing Jewish learning opportunities.

“These investments reflect the Foundation’s core belief that dynamic Jewish learning can happen at various stages of life and in all kinds of settings and environments,” says Barry Finestone, President and CEO of the Jim Joseph Foundation.

Major Grants include

Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin & Sonoma Counties: Early Childhood and Family Engagement Initiative (2017 – 2020)

Up to $1,952,687 to extend the work of the Bay Area Early Childhood and Family Engagement (ECFE) Initiative by supporting: 1) A third and final cohort of the Jewish Resource Specialist (JRS 3.0) program at five additional Bay Area sites to establish a teacher resource providing Jewish education and family engagement coaching for teachers and parents; 2) A new internship program that will focus on recruiting, training, and establishing an onboarding process for eight new interns per year (24 total) in Jewish early childhood education settings; and 3) A pilot cohort of Reshet: Family Engagement Professionals program providing professional development and networking for eight Bay Area family educators.

Mechon Hadar: General Operating and Capacity Building Support (2017 – 2020)

Up to $2,150,000 to support the programs and priorities outlined in Hadar’s recent Strategic Plan to: 1) Strengthen and expand Hadar’s immersive programs; 2) Cultivate and support individuals and communities around the country (starting with alumni) that are dedicated to promoting Hadar’s ethos and vision; and 3) Impact diverse audiences by offering a vision of Torah that is uncompromisingly honest, spiritually meaningful, and socially responsible.

These efforts are designed to double the number of participants in its programs and to greatly expand its work with the Jewish community both in the United States and Israel.

Onward Israel: Growth and Expansion (2015 – 2019)

Up to $8,000,000 to expand Onward Israel’s multi-week, immersive, resumé-building experiences in Israel and to engage even more participants. A portion of the funding is designated for Onward’s popular theme-based programs and to strengthen the Jewish educational components of all of its offerings. Onward programs are proven to have a positive influence on participants’ personal growth, Jewish identity development, and connections to Israel – and program alumni return home and increase their engagement in Jewish activities and community. Onward Israel works in collaboration with a wide range of communities and organizations, and partners in Israel with Masa Israel Journey to carry out most of its programs.

Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School Ltd: Educator Training (2017 – 2018)

Up to $2,450,000, including a grant from the Aviv Foundation, to support Yeshivat Chovevei Torah’s continued growth and development of rabbinic leaders and educators who exhibit a welcoming, inclusive, and open-minded approach to Jewish education and engagement.

Expedited Grant

Jewish National Fund’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel: Alumni Engagement and Communal Scholarships (2017 – 2018)

Up to $250,000 for JNF’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel’s Continuum programming that furthers alumni connection to Israel and increases scholarship opportunities for children of Jewish communal professionals.