From Our Blog

Making Jewish My Own: Gleanings from Reboot

By Robin Kramer and Amelia Klein on July 27th, 2015

Editor's Note: The Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded three grants to Reboot totaling up to $6,547,490 beginning in 2008. The following guest blog from Reboot's Robin Kramer and Amelia Klein ran originally in eJewishPhilanthropy

"Reboot showed me that if community wasn’t there then the best thing to do was to get up and make it happen."

This is the sentiment of a Rebooter, a member of the network launched by Reboot, the young nonprofit now just past its bar/bat mitzvah year. Reboot affirms the value of Jewish traditions and creates new ways for people to make them their own, principally through the doors of creative culture. Inspired by Jewish ritual and embracing the arts, humor, food, philosophy, and social justice, ...More

Israel and Philanthropic Inspiration

By Chip Edelsberg on July 8th, 2015

"Israel" Say the word in a gathering of almost any diverse group of Jews, and the room divides. “Israel" Write the word for almost any Jewish audience of readers—as I have done here—and expect that each individual immediately conjures up a passel of highly personalized associations and passionate opinions about political matters. Proceed with caution and make no assumptions as an author that there is agreement on what Israel means to your readers. That in mind, the Jim Joseph Foundation Board of Directors and professional staff recently returned from a week in Israel that included special immersion activities and our regular quarterly board meeting. Israel embraced us with her people and landscapes, language and culture. For whatever differences of opinions exist among the Directors ...More

“Jumping” Right in at the Jim Joseph Foundation

By Aaron Saxe on June 29th, 2015

The mission of the Jim Joseph Foundation—to foster compelling, effective Jewish learning experiences for young Jews—has been a central theme of my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up influenced by dozens of Jewish educators in a variety of settings including Sunday and Hebrew school, youth groups, day camps, and group travel to Israel. I spent most of my childhood summers at Jewish overnight camp, deepening my connection to Judaism and building lifelong friendships. And, I engaged deeply in Jewish life in college and after graduation. Professionally, I spent three years as Program Director at Camp Alonim in Simi Valley, CA, and most recently worked at the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund of San Francisco ...More

Reflections from Sandy Edwards, Jim Joseph Foundation Associate Director

By Sandy Edwards on June 18th, 2015

Editor's Note: Later this month, Foundation Associate Director Sandy Edwards will leave the position she has held since 2006. She will remain involved in Jewish education and philanthropy through consulting and volunteering efforts. Below are reflections from Sandy on her time at the Jim Joseph Foundation working with grantees, other funders, and stakeholders in the field. Ten years can at once seem like a long time and go by in an instant. As I reflect back on my ten years at the Jim Joseph Foundation, I am flooded with memories about where the Foundation and the field were in 2005—and where we now are today. When I joined the Foundation, nothing was in place. No infrastructure for disbursing grants. No methods for ...More

A Special Meeting for the Jim Joseph Foundation

By Chip Edelsberg on June 5th, 2015

Later this month, the Jim Joseph Foundation Board of Directors and Professional team will hold a special Board Meeting in Israel. The Foundation last held a Board meeting there in 2009, and Directors have elected to conduct another meeting in Israel as part of the Foundation’s ten-year anniversary. This is an important opportunity for the Foundation to pay respect to Jim Joseph, z”l, and to visit with grantees in affirming the prominent place of Israel in the Foundation’s grantmaking strategy. Jim Joseph passed away suddenly in December, 2003. He had a deep connection to Israel and, as he desired, his family buried him there. A year and a half later, the Foundation as it is structured today was formed. One of ...More

A 5-Point Plan to Build Your Local Engager Network

By Dan Fast and Adam Pollack on May 26th, 2015

Since 2012, we have witnessed the growth of local networks for Jewish engagement professionals – “engagers” who are responsible for Jewish millennial engagement and programming – in cities across the country, including Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Philadelphia, and more. These networks serve as local engager hubs, complementing a national network such as the NEXTwork. They also uniquely further engagement efforts by:

  • Increasing trust, mutual respect, and transparency among local engagers;
  • Accelerating knowledge, skill-sharing, collaborations, and connectional intelligence – a term coined by business/leadership consultants Erica Dhawan and Saj-nicole Joni that emphasizes “driving innovation and breakthrough results by harnessing the power of [our] relationships and networks”;
  • Diving deep into the nuances and needs of Jewish millennials and engagement issues; ...More

It Takes a Strong Field to Make a Stronger Field

By Chip Edelsberg on May 6th, 2015

One of the Jim Joseph Foundation’s three strategic funding priorities is to build the field of Jewish education. But what does this actually mean? What actions does the Foundation take to work towards this goal? With these questions in mind, I took stock recently of how the Foundation’s field building efforts have manifested themselves. What’s especially noteworthy is how a strong field has helped Jewish education continue to evolve; how offerings both for educators and learners continue to expand; and how a strong field increases the power and strength of networks. The Foundation’s field building efforts take on various forms. In certain instances, we utilize the Foundation’s robust program of evaluation to share valuable learnings that we hope benefit the field. ...More

Helpful Insights From a Working Funder Collaborative

By Ellen Irie - Informing Change, Reuben Posner - Combined Jewish Philanthropies Boston on May 6th, 2015

Recently, a group of 15 different organizations (15!) released a case study –Finding New Paths for Teen Engagement and Learning: A Funder Collaborative Leads the Way – detailing the two-years they’ve spent working together, learning about and investing in Jewish teen education and engagement initiatives. There are a litany of insights and interesting lessons to pull from the study, which we believe are beneficial to organizations well beyond the Jewish teen education and engagement arena (and even beyond the Jewish education arena). In fact, funders in all philanthropic sectors are increasingly pooling or coordinating funding for greater impact, or to address particularly challenging social and environmental problems. Because of this trend in collaborative efforts, we – one of ...More

When Jewish personal and professional lives intersect

By Nicole Levy on May 4th, 2015

Last week marked six months since I was hired as an Administrative Assistant at the Jim Joseph Foundation. I thoroughly enjoy my work, which, as I expected, is rewarding. What I didn’t anticipate, however, is how my engagement in Jewish life professionally would lead to new opportunities for engagement and Jewish learning in my personal life. My journey is probably similar to many other young professionals at various Jewish organizations. I was raised in a Jewish-secular household. My parents, both raised in Israel, are not religiously observant but provided me with an upbringing rich with Jewish culture, pride, and values. I moved to San Francisco after graduating college. While being very happy in the Bay Area, after a couple of years I ...More

To Every Season Turn, Turn, Turn: A Time of Change at the Jim Joseph Foundation

By Chip Edelsberg on April 14th, 2015

I hope you enjoyed a meaningful Pesach with family and friends. In this month’s blog, I want to share with you several significant personnel changes at the Foundation. Sandy Edwards, the Foundation’s Associate Director since 2006, will step down in June of this year. After I was named Executive Director, Sandy was the first person I brought on board as I built the Foundation’s professional team. If you have had the privilege to work with Sandy, you are well aware of her life-long commitment to Jewish education; her understanding of multiple ways to assess Jewish learning; and her strong desire to share best practices. Many of the Foundation’s standard operating procedures regarding its evaluation program and model documentation were conceptualized ...More

The Jim Joseph Foundation invests in promising Jewish education grant initiatives. We partner with effective organizations that seek to inspire young people to discover the joy of living vibrant Jewish lives.