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Jim Joseph Foundation Invests over $23m. in Jewish Educator Professional and Leadership Development

Published in EJewish Philanthropy
Posted on October 24, 2017

The Jim Joseph Foundation has announced a $23.7 million cumulative investment in 21 organizations following a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to address two critical areas in Jewish education: Educator Professional Development and Leadership Development.

The Foundation, which fosters compelling, effective Jewish learning experiences for young Jews in the United States, received 154 Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) following the RFP’s release in April. The grant periods begin now and will continue into 2020 and 2021.

The 10 Jewish Educator Professional Development grants are, by design, a diverse cohort of organizations, types of programs, and types of educators targeted. The opportunity to fund these different programs represents a strong strategic fit with the Foundation’s interest in investing in talent for the Jewish education sector. If successful, this set of investments will lead to more than 500 Jewish educators receiving quality, intensive professional development over the upcoming four years. The Foundation also is supporting an external evaluation of the initiative and a community of practice for the program directors.

The Leadership Development grants approach this space through various lenses, including training for social justice leadership, thought leadership, early childhood education leadership, and youth leadership. Participation in the portfolio of new grants under this umbrella will include participation in two convenings with initiative directors, and a cross-portfolio research study to understand common outcomes, themes, and strategies in developing Jewish leaders.

“We were fortunate to receive very ambitious, high quality LOIs that reflect the diversity and vibrancy of Jewish life today,” says Barry Finestone, President and CEO of the Jim Joseph Foundation. “Now, we are excited to move forward with these cohorts in educator training and leadership development – two areas that the Foundation views as critical to creating excellent Jewish education.”

The following 10 grants, along with support for a community of practice among the directors of these programs and a cross-portfolio evaluation, represent an investment of $16,698,069 in Educator Professional Development:

  • Ayeka for the Soulful Professional Development Program in Jewish day schools.
  • Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion for the Executive Master of Arts in Religious Education program designed for Jewish educators with at least five years of experience.
  • The iCenter for Israel Education for the Academic Certificate in Israel Education Program.
  • Jewish Agency for Israel: Makom for the 4HQ at Moishe House program training young adult peer educators to nurture an organizational culture of robust and engaging Israel conversations.
  • Jewish Community Centers Association of North America for the Sheva Early Childhood Directors Institute for mid-career professionals.
  • The Jewish Education Project for the Fellowship for Outcomes-Based Teen Education and Engagement Training for senior level youth professionals.
  • Jewish Federations of North America for the Next Gen Jewish Educators program for Federation professionals.
  • M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education for the M² Circles program, a series of professional development modules, each focused on a central curricular theme.
  • National Yiddish Book Center for the Great Jewish Books program training day school teachers in middle and high school.
  • SVARA for the Transformative Talmud Teacher Fellowship.

The following 11 grants, along with support for a cross-portfolio research study about these programs and support for two grantee convenings about Jewish leadership, represent an investment of $7,050,000 in Leadership Development in Jewish Education:

  • American Jewish World Service for the Global Justice Fellowship supporting early and mid-career rabbis.
  • Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps for the Avodah Justice Fellowship for early-career young adult social justice leaders.
  • Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice for the Selah Leadership Program supporting Jewish leaders of color to be agents for change.
  • Habonim Dror North America for the Bonimot Tzedek Leadership Development Program supporting teens, college students and young adults.
  • Jewish Council for Youth Services for the Local Board Leadership Development Program supporting young adult volunteer leaders.
  • Jewish Theological Seminary of America for the Leadership Commons supporting emerging leaders in early childhood education and Jewish communal institutions.
  • National Ramah Commission for the Kerem and Amitai Ramah Leadership programs supporting teens, college students and young adults.
  • Shalom Hartman Institute of North America for the Incubator for Jewish Thought Leadership supporting advanced doctoral, post-doctoral, and rabbinic students.
  • Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership for the Certificate in Jewish Leadership supporting senior level Jewish education leaders.
  • United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York for the Wiener Center for Leadership and Learning supporting early career professionals.
  • Young Judaea for the Year Course Leadership Training Institute in Israel supporting teens in their gap year between high school and college.