Portland Jewish Federation Annouces Innovation Grants

The Jewish Federation of Greater Portland (JFGP) has inspired innovation within their community as the result of an unprecedented decision – to offer $300,000 beyond the total dollars allocated through its annual campaign to new Community Impact Grants (CIG). These funds created an opportunity for new local initiatives that will engage new audiences – and is being carried out in the midst of continued economic uncertainty. While some organizations have struggled to maintain the status quo, JFGP approached the challenges with a new perspective.

A recent demographic study commissioned by JFGP estimates that Portland has over 27,700 Jewish households, a striking difference from the 11,000 households currently identified synagogue and agency rosters. Portland’s Jewish population is a growing, diverse population that includes a large number of Jews who are not involved in the organized community. Supporting new approaches to increase involvement is the spirit behind JFGP’s community funding.

“Portland is on the map for Jewish innovation” stated JFGP’s President and CEO Marc Blattner. JFGP asked our Jewish community to make a splash, and they did! In the end, over 66 proposals were received representing over $3.5 million in funding requests. “We received local, national and international proposals. The breadth of proposals is simply inconceivable, from traditional programs to creative, innovative and outside-the-box thinking,” said Charlene Zidell, CIG Subcommittee chair.

Applicants were asked to create a more vibrant Portland Jewish community through: leadership and representation in meaningful programing serving the broader Jewish community, targeting programs in strategically important areas, and improving social services that are the core of JFGP’s mission. Proposals were reviewed following these standards:

  • High likelihood of success with measureable outcomes at the end of year one
  • Support synergistic collaborations that create new efficiencies or new capacity
  • Power to engage communities in a sustainable manner
  • Empowering community members and organizations to move toward self-sufficiency and from passive giving to the active practice of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.
  • Create awareness of the Federation’s relevance and involvement
  • Broaden leadership capacity within the Jewish community

Awardees were announced at JFGP’s 2011 Annual Meeting last night:

Awarded: $6,000
Sponsoring Agency: Kesser Israel
Reaching out to do good – connects volunteers to opportunities in our community – engages synagogues, youth groups, B’nei Mitzvah, affiliated, nonaffiliated and especially young professionals.

New Jewish Food Movement
Awarded: $19,000
Sponsoring Agency: Hazon
Involving our community in the sustainable food system through Portland-specific leadership training sessions at the 2011 Hazon Jewish Food Conference, pre-work and post-conference leadership development and support of local initiatives.

Erev Shabbat in the Park
Awarded: $7,500
Sponsoring Agencies: Shir Tikvah and Neveh Shalom
Bridging the gap between eastside and westside congregations with three Erev Shabbat (Friday evening) prayer services and picnics in eastside parks.

Oregon Jewish Sound Archives
Awarded: $18,000
Sponsoring Agency: Oregon Jewish Museum
Sharing our musical legacy – through collection, preservation and digitization of Oregon Jewish music – to document, preserve, teach and present to the public all aspects of Oregon’s rich heritage of Jewish sacred and secular music.

Youth Shaliach
Awarded: $51,000
Sponsoring Agency: Jewish Agency for Israel
Creating a Youth Shaliach (liaison) position to instill pride in the achievements of the local Jewish community and its connection to Israel by reaching out to affiliated and non-affiliated Jewish youth and families in the greater Portland area.

Portland Senior Impact Project
Awarded: $26,000
Jewish Family and Child Service
Ensuring the independence, security and health of our Jewish seniors by aligning with existing Jewish agencies and facilitating volunteerism and outreach.

CSP at Home: A Newer Jewish Response to Aging
Awarded: $35,000
Sponsoring Agency: Cedar Sinai Park
Providing comprehensive care for seniors in the comfort of their own homes.

Mothers Circle
Awarded: $4,800
Sponsoring Agency: Neveh Shalom
Providing education and building bonds between women of non-Jewish backgrounds and women new to Judaism who are raising Jewish children.

Kochavim and Notz’tzim Outreach Program
Awarded: $8,370
Sponsoring Agencies: Shir Tikvah and Neveh Shalom
Hebrew immersion program for children in supplementary school – an opportunity for new and unengaged Jewish families on the eastside to learn in a fun, accurate, developmentally appropriate environment

First Fruits Festival
Awarded: $6, 000
Sponsoring Agency: The Harold Schnitzer Family
Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University
Celebrating Shavuot with cutting-edge Jewish music with Torah-centered text study taking place outside traditional Jewish institutions and partnering with local venues.

Jdub Portland
Awarded: $50,000
Sponsoring Agency: Jdub
Introducing proud Jewish voices into mainstream culture – Jdub will now forge vibrant connections to young Jews through music, media and cultural events in the Portland area.

Portland Young Adult Shabbat
Awarded: $10,000
Sponsoring Agency: Oregon Board of Rabbis
Building a Portland-wide young adult community through ongoing spiritual and ritual practice.

six: social playground
Awarded: $23,000
Sponsoring Agency: Oregon Jewish Museum
Engaging an audience of Jewish YoCos (Young Cosmopolitans) with their community through six socially dynamic happenings to mix, mingle, learn and play in a hip environment.

Eastside Consulting/Market Survey
Awarded: $35,000
Several proposals were submitted targeting eastside programming/initiatives. To ensure these efforts best serve the needs of this demographic funds have been appropriated to perform a third-party market survey to identify the service and outreach needs of this area.

To learn more visit jewishportland.org.