From Our Blog

October 2007

By on October 13th, 2007

The Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF) consistently finds that Initiatives it considers funding involve complex questions of Jewish identity. For each prospective Initiative, JJF professionals examine how experiences a particular organization offer engage individuals and their peer groups in Jewish learning. We try to discern, given our understanding of a substantial academic and growing popular literature on identity formation, if a potentially fundable Initiative involves learning that reliably leads to strengthening Jewish identity. JJF Directors have determined that support of traditional institutions and established organizations in the Jewish community is one effective means for the Foundation to realize its vision. Funding Jewish day schools; BBYO; the San Francisco Federation; intermediaries such as the Foundation for Jewish Camping and PEJE; etc. reflects the ...More

September 2007

By on September 13th, 2007

For an investment-style Foundation such as the Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF), research and evaluation are main stay activities. The former provides data around which hypotheses are formed and grant initiatives ultimately designed. The latter enables the Foundation to assess its achievements and understand how it might improve its philanthropy. Currently, JJF is involved is several research-related and evaluation type projects. For example, while Brandeis University has completed its JJF-commissioned study of the field of education of young Jews in the United States, it is continuing to sort data it collected into what will become a publicly available resource. JJF Directors recently approved a $600,000 grant that provides funding to support the development of this unique database. Once available in the public ...More

August 2007

By on August 13th, 2007

The Jim Joseph Foundation has begun to forge significant partnerships with deserving grantees. These grantee organizations’ implementation of their own strategic plans enable JJF to advance its mission by funding initiatives that hold tremendous potential for inspiring Jewish youth to live Jewishly. JJF Directors awarded 11.2 million dollars to the Foundation for Jewish Camping (FJC) at the Foundation’s July 6th Board Meeting. The grant supports a residential camp incentive program for 11 to 13 year olds. The initiative provides two years of financial support for first time campers who reside in the western part of the United States – a region offering the greatest potential for increasing enrollment at sleep away Jewish camps. Concurrently, JJF and FJC will extend our conversation on ...More

June 2007

By on June 13th, 2007

As we enter the summer months, the Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF) anticipates a series of conversations and negotiations that could result in several additional significant grant collaborations. Foundation Directors have urged JJF professionals, building on the JJF – commissioned Brandeis research (report coming soon), to seek out major opportunities in the following areas: expanding the field of Jewish camping; supporting innovative ways to engage teens and young adults in meaningful, modern day, Jewish educational experiences; preparation of Day school leadership. Concurrently, the Foundation is working with its grantees – Bar Ilan University, BBYO, birthright israel, Brandeis University, JECEI, the San Francisco Federation and The Curriculum Initiative among others – to ensure JJF grant dollars are used in ways that directly serve ...More

May 2007

By on May 13th, 2007

The most recent report Dr. Amy Sales and her Brandeis University research team submitted to the Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF) asserts that “relatively little is being done at the first steps of professional development where new talent is identified, recruited, and prepared for professional work. Unless these first steps are successful, problems with the quality of professional practice, attrition, and the absence of a professional culture will persist.” It is with this goal in mind that JJF Directors have approved a grant of up to $2.325 million to BBYO for implementation of a Youth Professional Initiative. In short, BBYO will identify a cohort of up to 20 young professionals, who during three years of youth group work with that ...More

April 2007

By on April 18th, 2007

At this time of the year, it is natural to view the Foundation’s activity by contextualizing it within observance of Passover. For Jewish foundations, the themes of Passover—choice, renewal, inclusion, ritual—are worthy of reflection. Passover’s dramatic story of the Jewish exodus from that “narrow place” (Mitzrayim, i.e, Egypt) is a riveting narrative of a people liberating themselves from slavery. Today, the arc of freedom for American Jewry has reached its zenith. Jews enjoy unprecedented access to corporate offices, private spaces, and the public square. For the Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF), this reality necessitates understanding that Jews’ participation in Jewish education is voluntary, fluid, and self-directed. Concomitantly, the Foundation recognizes that Jewish educational experiences must be deeply engaging in order ...More

March 2007

By on March 18th, 2007

Jim Joseph Foundation professionals and its Directors are engaged in countless conversations with representatives of organizations and institutions that provide education for Jewish children, youth, and young adults in the United States. The Foundation’s evolving approach to its grant making is conversational in nature. We view thoughtful, probing, reflective, and ongoing discourse with the field as a vital way to do business. We are currently talking with more than a dozen prospective grantee partners. In each case, we envision opportunity to provide Foundation support that will advance our mission. JJF Directors expect its professionals to manage highly interactive processes of developing promising funding opportunities for the Board to consider. We do not accept proposals, issue RFPs, invite organizations as “vendors” to ...More

February 2007

By on February 18th, 2007

The question I am asked most frequently these days is “how does my organization go about being invited to apply for a Jim Joseph Foundation grant?” It’s a fair question, to be sure. Here’s how we operate at the Foundation to ensure we do the best job possible of inviting grantees to work with us in crafting promising proposals. First of all, we critically view the Foundation’s philanthropy through various value screens, the most important of which are the Foundation’s mission, vision, and its strategic goals. We also consistently apply a set of grant screening criteria to any prospective grantee: - Demonstrated need in the target population - Financial feasibility - Potential for funding partners - Strength of professional and lay leadership - Evaluation that will ...More

January 2007

By on January 18th, 2007

The New Year represents a moment in time to reflect on the past and to look forward. Directors and professionals at the Jim Joseph Foundation – despite being together “around the table” for less than a year – can appreciate the recent past and anticipate the future with great excitement. The Jim Joseph Foundation has completed its Strategic Planning. In following the lead of its extraordinarily generous founder, the Foundation will focus its grant making on education of Jewish children, teens, and young adults. The Foundation will commit substantial resources to support what it deems to be compelling educational experiences. We will concentrate on the sometimes seemingly intractable challenge of recruiting, training and retaining high quality Jewish educators. The Foundation is ...More

December 2006

By on December 18th, 2006

As the Foundation draws closer to solidifying its initial grant making priorities and strategies, we have gained clarity about its vision. The Jim Joseph Foundation envisions a future in which ever-increasing numbers of young Jews engage in meaningful, ongoing Jewish learning and choose, as a result of the compelling and inspirational quality of those learning experiences, to lead vibrant Jewish lives. While the Foundation’s understanding of the field continues to evolve, we are confident in what we have learned. Among the critical principles that we find to be especially pertinent are the following: - Discrete stages in child, youth, and young adult development possess distinctive characteristics that have implications for how learning and teaching best occur. - Learning experiences, in order to be ...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.