The Covenant Foundation Announces $1.6m in New Grants

The Covenant Foundation has announced $1.6 million in new grants, supporting Jewish organizations and initiatives with novel and imaginative approaches to Jewish learning and wide geographic reach.

“These new grants combine creative visions with robust program designs,” said Cheryl R. Finkel, Chair of the Board of Directors of The Covenant Foundation. “They introduce fresh ideas in diverse domains of Jewish learning and hold exciting potential to inspire communities across North America.”

Foundation grants are divided into two categories: Signature grants, which provide funding for up to $250,000 for up to five years, and Ignition grants, of up to $20,000 for one year to support new and untested approaches.

The grants are part of approximately $1.8 million to be distributed this year.

“As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we’re both taking stock of the remarkable impact a quarter century of grant-making has had on the field and taking the long view forward into the future,” said Harlene Appelman, Executive Director of The Covenant Foundation.

“If you’re wondering where the Foundation is headed over the next 25 years, look no further than the unique and ambitious projects being funded this year. These grantees are our promise to the future of Jewish education.”

Signature grantees include:

AVODAH, New York, NY, with multi-city reach in Chicago, New Orleans, New York, and Washington DC. Ruach Avodah. A new project that will infuse AVODAH’s yearlong Jewish Service Corps program with Jewish experiences, giving participants a deep connection beyond formal learning.
Project Director: Sarra Alpert; $180,000 (3 years).

Community Foundation for Jewish Education, Chicago, IL, with local reach within the Chicago Metropolitan Area. The Chicago Teachers Project: A Laboratory for Jewish Early Childhood Education. To launch a teaching laboratory that will attract and serve as the innovative training ground for a new generation of teachers in Jewish early childhood education.
Project Director: Anna Hartman; $166,300 (3 years).

InterfaithFamily, Newton Upper Falls, MA, with multi-city reach in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. The Interfaith Inclusion Leadership Initiative. To fund an intensive, year-long training program for Jewish institutions to make enduring change via organizational policies and programs that support the participation of interfaith families in Jewish life.
Project Director: Stacie Garnett-Cook; $50,000 (1 year).

Jewish New Teacher Project, New York, NY with regional reach in the Midwest and Southeast. Expanding the Jewish New Teacher Projects ChicagoBased Mentoring Program. To expand its successful Chicago-based new teacher mentoring program to include Jewish day schools in surrounding states.
Project Director: Nina Bruder; $140,000 (3 years).

The Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, NY, with local reach in the New York Metropolitan Area. The inHEIRitance Project: The Exodus Plays. To collaborate with other faith communities in Harlem and Morningside Heights in the next phase in the evolution of this project.
Project Director: Jon Adam Ross; $26,000 (2 years).

Jewish Women’s Archive, Brookline, MA, with national reach. Story Aperture. To launch Story Aperture, a new project that will enable people of all ages – in classrooms and beyond – to use mobile technology to collect and share the stories of Jewish women.
Project Director: Mikki Pugh; $45,000 (1 year).

PresenTense Group/UpStart, San Francisco, CA, with multi-city reach in Portland, San Diego and Vancouver. PresenTense Community Hackathon: Phase II. To support Phase II of the PresenTense Community Hackathon, designed to utilize PresenTense’s methodologies to promote collaboration within mid-sized Jewish communities in North America and to initiate conversations and solutions centered on education.
Project Director: Aaron Katler; $53,000 (1 year).

Project Zug (Fiscal Sponsor: Mechon Hadar & Panim), New York, NY, with national reach. Project Zug: Connecting through Online Learning. To make personally tailored online Jewish chevruta learning accessible to Jews around the world.
Project Director: Rabbi Avi Sarah Killip; $150,000 (3 years).

Union for Reform Judaism, New York, NY, with national reach. Youth Professional Training Initiative. To develop an initiative to better support entry-level professionals working with Jewish youth.
Project Director: Michelle Shapiro Abraham; $141,000 (3 years).

Ignition grantees include:

Illuminated Jewish Stories (Fiscal Sponsor: FJC), Sharon, MA, with multi-city reach in Boston and New York. Illuminated Jewish Stories. To support the creation and dissemination of Jewish educational arts materials for adults and to conduct educator trainings and programs.
Project Director: Ariel Burger; $20,000 (1 year).

JCC of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, with local reach in Las Vegas Valley. Jewish University. To support and expand the newly created Jewish University, encompassing a thematic, artistic, and cultural approach to Jewish education.
Project Director: Jeffrey Metz; $20,000 (1 year).

Jewish Parent Academy (Fiscal Sponsor: Kings Bay Y). Brooklyn, NY, with local reach in the New York Metropolitan Area. Jewish Parent Academy. To build on its pilot year of adult Jewish learning for Russian-speaking parents with young families.
Project Director: Dimitriy Goloborodoskiy; $20,000 (1 year).

Moishe House, Encinitas, CA, with national reach. Activate Local Learning: PeerLed Jewish Education Fueled by Local Jewish Educators. To support partnerships between emerging Jewish young adult leaders and local Jewish educators in an effort to create new experiential learning opportunities for their peers.
Project Director: Rabbi Brad Greenstein; $20,000 (1 year).

Jewish Film Institute, San Francisco, CA, with national reach. JFI On Demand for the Next Wave. To support a pilot program that builds on the success of its Video On Demand platform.
Project Director: Lexi Leban; $20,000 (1 year).

Since 1991, the Foundation has provided more than $29.5 million to support Jewish education in North America. Past grantees are highlighted on the Foundation’s website,, and in Sight Line, the Foundation’s digital journal.

The Covenant Foundation is currently inviting 2017 Signature and Ignition grant applications. Visit for information and guidelines. The deadline for submitting an initial letter of inquiry is Feb. 21, 2017.

The Covenant Foundation is a program of the Crown Family Philanthropies.