August 7th, 2012
$6 Million Investment from Foundations Supports New Projects and Organizational Infrastructure
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Seeking to help Moishe House implement a new Strategic Growth Plan to broaden and deepen its impact on Jewish young adults in their 20’s, the Jim Joseph Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Leichtag Foundation, Genesis Philanthropy Group, and Maimonides Fund today announced a total of $6 million of investment to the international organization.
The grants are a significant, collaborative investment of second-level funding to Moishe House, which has 46 residences in 14 countries that engage more than 50,000 attendees a year. The combined efforts of the five foundations, which build on previous multi-year grants from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation (CLSFF) and Jim Joseph Foundation, demonstrate a common goal to expand proven initiatives that reach young Jewish adults and foster vibrant Jewish lives.
“These grants will help Moishe House engage and educate more young Jewish adults through both expanding our existing model as well as new and creative channels,” says David Cygielman, CEO of Moishe House. “The Strategic Growth Plan charts a course that is both innovative and comprehensive in its approach, allowing the organization to implement pilot projects and expand our reach to new regions.”
Core elements of the Growth Plan include expanding Moishe House to new locations, offering Jewish educational training for Moishe House residents and their peers, and investment in Moishe House’s organizational infrastructure and fundraising.
The Growth Plan was developed by Moishe House professionals and Board Members with guidance from Olive Grove Consulting, which specializes in providing technical assistance for organizational expansion. The Jim Joseph Foundation funded this work after an August 2011 external evaluation of Moishe House demonstrated that the organization has developed an effective, affordable, and scalable approach to achieving its mission.
This latest investment follows five-plus years of core support from CLSFF and the Jim Joseph Foundation, which began funding Moishe House in 2006 and 2009, respectively. This support has enabled Moishe House to expand its reach and deepen its impact, enhance its operations, and gain stability and credibility with additional local and national supporters.
“Moishe House is a vital gateway through which young Jewish adults can shape Jewish life in their own image,” said Lynn Schusterman, Chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network, which includes CLSFF. “The incredible pace at which Moishe House has grown is testament to its resonance with the young people it seeks to engage. We are excited to build on our past commitments by partnering with these foundations to help bring Moishe House’s programming to even more people.”
The Growth Plan includes replicating on a larger scale a pilot grant coordinated by the Maimonides Fund, which initiated learning retreats for residents.
“During the three day learning retreats, led by a wide array of Jewish educators, Moishe House residents, Birthright alumni, and participant leaders learn how to create meaningful Jewish experiences, such as hosting a Shabbat dinner or leading a Passover Seder,” adds Cygielman. “The retreats have been oversubscribed, showing a strong demand for this type of peer-to-peer learning.”
It also includes implementation of Moishe House Without Walls, a new pilot project for young Jewish adults in San Diego and Moishe House resident alumni. Through the project, initiated with a grant from the Leichtag Foundation, young Jewish adults in San Diego and Moishe House alumni are able to build networks and create similar Jewish experiences to those in Moishe House. By registering programs in one of three categories – Jewish learning, Repair the World and Jewish Culture and Holidays – the resident alumni and San Diegans are supported by Without Walls after each completed program.
Implementation of the Growth Plan will result in an increase in the number of Moishe Houses serving the Russian-speaking Jewish community, of which currently three are in North America and six in the Former Soviet Union (FSU). Moishe House’s effort in the Russian-speaking Jewish community, initiated with a grant from Genesis Philanthropy Group in 2009, will now include expansion of the learning retreats model to the FSU as well.
“What started out as a single Russian-speaking Moishe House in Chicago is now part of the broader, strategic, collaborative initiative to help widen and deepen Moishe House’s engagement with young Jewish adults from Russian-speaking communities across the globe,” said Stan Polovets, CEO and co-founder of Genesis Philanthropy Group.
Many forward-thinking Jewish federations, foundations, and individuals currently provide significant support to Moishe House. The five foundations hope that their collective investment in Moishe House’s future will encourage other foundations, federations, and individual philanthropists to support this dynamic organization with a proven model for reaching young Jewish adults.
To help catalyze support from additional federations and individuals, which the Growth Plan has identified as key areas for fundraising, the Jim Joseph Foundation is offering up to a $3 million, dollar for dollar match to Moishe House for all funds raised from federations and individuals over the next four and half years.
Al Levitt, Jim Joseph Foundation Board President, notes that this coordination of funders and funding support provides generous resources to a thriving, and still young, organization. “We are optimistic that this grantmaking will help carry Moishe House through a second stage of growth,” Levitt says, “to a point of long-term viability.”
“Moishe House already reaches tens of thousands of young Jewish adults each year, providing them opportunities to live vibrant Jewish lives,” adds Chip Edelsberg, Executive Director of the Jim Joseph Foundation. “With this Strategic Growth Plan, and the support of numerous organizations and individuals, Moishe House is positioned to cultivate even more young Jewish adults engaged in personally relevant Jewish learning and creating home-based communities for their peers.”