The Rodan Foundation and Bend the Arc make an East Bay bid for diverse Jewry

The foundation is focused on serving its local community

??Bend the Arc, the progressive Jewish social change organization, is launching a training program for organizations to help them become places where Jews of Color can work happily and successfully, Analucia Lopezrevoredo, the senior director of Bend the Arc’s Project Shamash Initiative, told eJewishPhilanthropy.

Project Shamash is a leadership development program for Jews of Color, but Lopezrevoredo and others involved in it realized that they also needed to prepare Jewish nonprofits to receive Jews of Color as employees.

“If you transplant a flower into a new garden, it might dwindle because the ground is not able to support it,” she said.

The first organizational cohort of the 18-month program will consist of six organizations, all in the East Bay area: Camp Newman, Congregation Beth El, Congregation B’Nai Tikvah, Temple Isaiah, Urban Adamah and Wilderness Torah. The participants will be 13 executive directors and other leaders who can make cultural, financial and programmatic change, Lopezrevoredo said. They will meet digitally at least until the end of the year for three-hour seminars that will require up to eight hours of homework.

The program is funded by the Rodan Family Foundation, whose work focuses on the East Bay area, said Elana Rodan Schuldt, the foundation’s CEO.

“The diversity of our Jewish community is not reflected in Jewish life,” Schuldt said. “Because we have this hyperlocal focus, we can wrap our arms around the ecosystem.”