Campus Antisemitism

Pew Charitable Trusts awards Hillel International $500K to combat antisemitism

Grant to Hillel's Campus Climate Initiative comes amid a rise in antisemitism on college campuses

The Pew Charitable Trusts on Monday awarded Hillel International a $500,000 grant in support of its Campus Climate Initiative (CCI), which partners with university administrators to address antisemitism on college campuses. 

Adam Lehman, president and CEO of Hillel International, the largest Jewish student organization in the world, told eJewishPhilanthropy the grant is a “critical step forward for CCI.” 

He noted that it is unique that Pew Charitable Trust recognized CCI as positioned to address the “particular form of intolerance represented by antisemitism on campus.”

“As most people know, Pew is not a Jewish organization and I’m not sure of other contexts they’ve invested in Jewish specific communal initiatives. However, Hillel International and Pew share a focus on trying to address and eliminate intolerance when it comes to minority groups,” Lehman told eJP. 

The grant comes amid a significant surge of antisemitism on college campuses in the United States. The Anti-Defamation League found in its annual antisemitism report that antisemitic incidents on college campuses in 2022 increased by 41% to 219 incidents.

Elinor Haider, a senior director with The Pew Charitable Trusts, said in a statement that the grant is a “timely and important effort to help address antisemitism on college campuses,” adding that Pew has “long supported organizations aimed at furthering understanding of religion in the U.S., yet growing religious intolerance is a major challenge. The Campus Climate Initiative is a model of the type of program that is making a difference by countering bias and strengthening religious tolerance.”

Lehman told eJP that CCI, which ran its first cohort in 2020, ”educates and activates senior university administrators in support of Jewish student communities. It not only empowers all of our university partners in education, but partners with universities to implement actual policy change related to rapid response when antisemitism arises and fostering support for Jewish students we would hope all students have access to.” 

He said that the grant, which will run through June 2025, will allow Hillel to recruit more than 25 additional colleges and universities over the next two years to join the effort and offer continued support for campuses from previous cohorts. Fifty colleges and universities nationwide have participated in CCI since its inception.