Press Releases

Jewish Community Federation Unveils New Model for Grant-Making


The Federation Hosts 101st Annual Meeting: Big Changes Announced
Names Recipients for 2011 Impact Grants Initiative

San Francisco, June 20, 2011 - Thursday evening, hundreds of members of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties (JCF) joined together for the 101st Annual Meeting. In what was a night filled with celebration, refection and artisanal deli food, the evening was capped with the announcement of a new vision and outlook for the 101-year-old organization as it ventures into the ever-changing landscape of 21st century philanthropy.

One year after taking the helm as leader of JCF, CEO Jennifer Gorovitz, lauded the many accomplishments of 2010, and unveiled the implementation of a new and innovative approach to grant-making known as the Impact Grants Initiative (IGI). “I am proud to report in the course of just one year, we have made great strides in not only stabilizing the organization, but transforming it to more effectively fulfill its role as a philanthropic catalyst and community resource,” she said.

IGI is an engaged and empowered approach to grant making, modeled after the highly successful concept known as social venture philanthropy. “IGI provides a new generation of donors with the opportunity to work collaboratively to identify and help solve critical issues in the Jewish Community,” said Gorovitz.

Donors involved in this approach identify pressing needs in the community, work together to focus the scope and define realistic outcomes, elicit and evaluate grant proposals, and conduct site visits that provide an “on-the-ground” look at how these nonprofits function. “This ‘hands-on’ approach marks a vastly different model from traditional philanthropy and acknowledges the growing desire by younger donors to be active in the causes they support and to stay connected to the process,” said IGI co-chair, Laura Lauder.

Put simply: a collective impact is the net result when a group of connected individuals commit to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem and agree to be accountable to a single overarching goal. The implementation of the IGI marks a new phase for the JCF as it marks its success and impact during the past 101 years.

    IGI is a new model for the JCF because it:
  • Uses measurable outcomes as key criteria of success for the grantee.
  • Provides three-year grants, instead of the typical one-year duration.
  • Requires focused results that support innovation in both program delivery and leadership.
The first IGI grant round focused on innovative ways to engage young adults in Jewish life. This effort is being funded by a $1,000,000 allocation from the Jewish Community Federation Endowment Fund, which will be distributed over a three-year period. The following programs were awarded funding:

  1. Kevah Groups Program: Creates a grass roots Jewish learning movement through a network of 36 Torah study groups that build Jewish identity. Enables adults to explore the spiritual and intellectual richness of the Jewish textual tradition in a comfortable setting regardless of background knowledge or level of ritual observance.
  2. Hazon California Ride and Jewish Environment Initiative: Utilizing outdoor, environmental and food education to ultimately create healthy, sustainable Jewish communities. Fosters Jewish leaders by strengthening their knowledge and relationships in local Jewish life.
  3. Wilderness Torah: Activating Jewish life for young adults by reconnecting Jewish traditions to the cycles of nature, facilitating individual spiritual growth, strengthening multi-generational community, connecting people to nature, and empowering participants to take action through sustainable lifestyle choices.
  4. Moishe House: Providing meaningful Jewish experiences for young adults in the Bay Area by supporting leaders in their 20s as they create vibrant home-based Jewish communities.
  5. Idelsohn Society: An all-volunteer non-profit organization with a dedicated team from the music industry and academia who believe that Jewish history is best told through the lens of recorded Jewish music. The Tikva Project, inspired by Tikva Records, the most prolific (but now defunct) Jewish record label of the 20th century, will include a CD release of the labels most famous songs, and a month-long pop-up record store in San Francisco. The pop-up store will sell and promote the CD and the stories behind the recordings, and will deepen the relationship of this music to a new generation through panels, oral histories, live music, and much more.
  6. G-dcast Entertainment: By making quirky and charming cartoons our classic Jewish texts, G-dcast is animating today’s telling of the Torah. Our new division targets educators and parents of young teens by creating films explicitly for a young adult audience to encourage conversations about Jewish life.
  7. Storahtelling, Inc.: An international network of educators and artists, invigorating Jewish identity through dynamic educational programs and performances for multigenerational audiences, Storahtelling is bringing its model to San Francisco teaching basic Jewish literacy, core sacred stories, and exposing families to the art of interpretive study in an accessible and age appropriate way.
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About The Jewish Community Federation and its Endowment Fund: The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund is a philanthropic catalyst and community resource dedicated to building a vibrant and connected local Jewish community, supporting a pluralistic and democratic Israel, and sustaining Jews in need around the world.

For more information please contact:
Lori Warren, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, LoriW@sfjcf.org, 415.512.6218
Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
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