From Our Blog

Come One, Come All: The Need for Open Access to Data

By Chip Edelsberg on April 1st, 2014

It is no secret to readers of this blog that the Jim Joseph Foundation from its inception has sought access to good information and credible data as sources to inform the Foundation’s philanthropy. Of late, with the advent of so-called “big data,” I have noticed increasing emphasis placed on what is called “open access.” As described by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Peter Suber, in his 2012 book Open Access, open access to research literature means:

…free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without ...More

Jewish Enrichment in Action: A First Hand Look at BBYO’s International Convention

By Renee Rubin Ross on March 6th, 2014

Several weeks ago, I spent a few days at BBYO’s International Convention (IC) in Dallas, Texas. As others have written, IC was an inspiring gathering of 1,800 Jewish teens, the largest recent gathering of Jewish teens on record.  For the Jim Joseph Foundation, it was an opportunity for a site visit to see the large scale of BBYO’s work and to observe a small gathering that took place the day before the Convention opened: the first-ever Jewish Enrichment Institute (JEI). Almost two years ago, Directors of the Foundation approved a grant of $1.9 Million for the Directors of Jewish Enrichment (DJE) Initiative, to enhance the quality of experiential Jewish education offered to teens involved with BBYO throughout North America. This ...More

Bags are packed, ready to go…to JFN

By Chip Edelsberg on March 5th, 2014

We look forward to being with many of you next week at the Jewish Funders Network conference. We have much to discuss and share. I referenced several sources of new information in my previous blog that the Foundation was on the verge of disseminating and that would be focal points for some of the JFN sessions and table discussions in which Jim Joseph Foundation professionals are involved. The following are now available for your review and use:

  1. North  Shore Teen Initiative model documentation
  2. LA High School Affordability Initiative model documentation
  3. Foundation  for Jewish Camp’s Specialty Camp Incubator evaluation
Also, a comprehensive report funded by six funders and Hazon on Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE) will be ...More

A New Experiment in National-Local Funder Collaboration

By Josh Miller on February 28th, 2014

About ten months ago, following the release of the research report Effective Strategies for Educating and Engaging Jewish Teens, eJewishPhilanthropy ran a blog series that provided a range of perspectives in response to the report's key findings. The series' authors discussed numerous programs that successfully influence teens and their Jewish journeys. They also challenged us--to fundamentally rethink our communal approach to Jewish teen education. Why? Some 80% of today's Jewish teens do not opt in to the Jewish experiences offered in their communities. If we believe in the value of Jewish exploration during the adolescent years, then we need new strategies to capture the interests of many more of today's teens. This challenge left the Jim Joseph Foundation asking some ...More

A “Sneak Peak” of Lessons Learned to Share with the Field

By Chip Edelsberg on February 4th, 2014

In the first few months of 2014, Jim Joseph Foundation grantees will share numerous evaluations and model documentations with the field. There are also several reports of field-wide import in which the Foundation has been involved in preparing that we anticipate will be released. We are excited to help disseminate these learnings, advance the conversation on effective Jewish education, and work with partners to create new Jewish learning opportunities. But before that, I am pleased to share with you a “sneak peak” of these items that we hope will prove to be of value to you.

  • A model documentation report on the North Shore Teen Initiative will be released next month. This initiative appears to have changed the landscape of Jewish teen ...More

The “Fine Print” of A Grant Agreement

By Steven Green on January 31st, 2014

On one of my first days of Negotiations class at Goizueta Business School, Professor Earl Hill explained that the negotiation of terms was often more important than bargaining for price.  Often, a car buyer will invest a multitude of hours doing research on the exact make, model, and even color of the vehicle to purchase.  After visiting multiple dealerships, comparing Blue Book prices and even figuring out the appropriate trade-in value of an old vehicle, the buyer will enter the dealership ready to pay a firmly fixed price. The terms, including the financing, closing costs, documentation fee, and even timing of the sale, may not even enter into the consumer’s mindset, even though they greatly influence the overall expense incurred. How ...More

New Frontiers: All Kinds of Entry and Re-entry Points for Jewish Engagement

By Sandy Edwards on December 17th, 2013

A new MA program in Experiential Education and Jewish Cultural Arts recently launched at George Washington University. Funded by the Foundation, it is indicative of a guiding principle that effective Jewish learning occurs both inside and outside the classroom—and that highly qualified educators are needed for institutional and experiential settings. As the Foundation prepares a model documentation report of the North Shore Teen Initiative (NSTI), a Jewish teen engagement and education model in Boston’s North Shore community, a key takeaway is the effectiveness of Jewish service-learning opportunities with this audience. And finally, my Foundation colleagues are collaborating with other foundation professionals on research about the Jewish Outdoor Food and Environmental Education (JOFEE) movement. Preliminary results of the research indicate significant growth in ...More

Making a Difference: A Look Back at 2013

By Chip Edelsberg on December 9th, 2013

As the year ends, there is a natural tendency to look back and to take stock of what occurred in 2013. This was a significant year in the evolution of the Jim Joseph Foundation—first and foremost because of the determined efforts of Foundation grantees. We continue to be grateful for grantee success in creating engaging, substantive learning experiences and for developing Jewish educators to teach in myriad types of learning environments. Early this year, we released the Foundation’s 2008 – 2012 Summary Report. This report offers a snapshot of grantees’ achievements and insights about the Foundation’s own expectations for the years to come. We noted that “several of our major, multi-year grants will soon expire” and that “evaluations of ...More

CASJE 2.0: The “unsexy” Work of Building a Field

By Chip Edelsberg on November 13th, 2013

I have written frequently in this column about a culture of grantmaking at the Jim Joseph Foundation that is deeply rooted in the belief that good information and credible data help lead to smart philanthropic decision making. So it is with a keen sense of optimism that I announce the Foundation’s recently awarded $1.6 million grant (over 6 years) to Stanford University to support the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE). Following the lead of the AVI CHAI Foundation, the Jim Joseph Foundation is investing in a long-term effort to ultimately create an evidence base for Jewish educational practice.  In the first phase of this effort, CASJE 1.0 involved more than 350 individuals in the ...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.