From Our Blog

October 2008

By on October 14th, 2008

The Jim Joseph Foundation just completed its second retreat in two years with a group of distinguished advisors whom JJF views as madrichim. Our conversation with these individuals was far-reaching. Madrichim critiqued JJF’s strategy implementation based on an analysis of JJF’s grant making that we presented to them (See the JJF Portfolio Analysis). We enjoyed a dialogue on potential JJF Request for Proposal opportunities. We discussed approaches JJF might take to lead and partner in the field so as to increase the Foundation’s chances to demonstrably achieve its vision of increasing numbers of young Jews engaged in ongoing Jewish learning and choosing to live vibrant Jewish lives. Suffice it to say there is neither unanimity of opinion among the madrichim, nor ...More

September 2008

By on September 14th, 2008

It is a time of special anticipation in the Jewish calendar year. As we approach the high holy days, we are called to engage in our faith traditions of communal gathering, personal introspection, and prayer and worship. The holidays ask us to participate in acts of contrition, repentance, forgiveness, and kindness. Most importantly, however, Selichot, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur offer us the promise of renewal—of creating a better future by atoning for our transgressions and extending ourselves to our fellow human beings in committing to make the world a better place. Given the rituals and rhythms of the season, it seems especially appropriate that the Jim Joseph Foundation will reunite September 21 and 22 with the ten Madrichim (see a ...More

August 2008

By on August 14th, 2008

We are preparing for a September reunion with the Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF) Madrichim whose commissioned papers and ongoing counsel provide valuable guidance to us. As part of our preparation, the foundation is conducting a careful assessment of its past two and one-half years of grantmaking. A significant portion of the Madrichim retreat agenda will be devoted to discussion of JJF’s philanthropic performance to date. Once we have had an opportunity to process this information, we will post a series of graphics on this website which will profile the focus, scope, and early effects of the 161 grants JJF has awarded during the twenty-eight months of my tenure as JJF’s founding Executive Director. The retrospective analysis in which we are currently involved ...More

July 2008

By on July 14th, 2008

After two years of grant making, the Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF) looks forward to a summer in which many grantee beneficiaries will participate in programs of JJF funded initiatives. This past week, sixteen young BBYO professionals engaged in intensive Jewish study at Boston’s Hebrew College as members of the first cohort in JJF’s supported BBYO’s Professional Development Institute. In the western United States, hundreds of young campers began their first ever residential camping experience courtesy of JJF’s funding for the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s (FJC) JWest Campership Initiative. FJC anticipates over a thousand youngsters will enjoy this experience by summer’s end. Birthright Israel NEXT and Hillel have selected key personnel to direct their Birthright alumni and campus entrepreneurs/campus educator initiatives, respectively, both ...More

June 2008

By on June 14th, 2008

The Jim Joseph Foundation is now actively engaged in several major initiatives, working intensively with grantee partners and consultants to develop frameworks for monitoring and assessing JJF-funded initiatives. JJF Directors have awarded approximately $50 million in aggregate to BBYO, Birthright Israel, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and Hillel. For each initiative, articulating a theory of change, developing a logic model, designing an evaluation plan – these are basic structural elements of JJF’s grant making architecture. At its May 18-19 Board meeting, JJF Directors added four significant new grants to the Foundation’s portfolio. JJF is now sponsoring two pilot projects – a Bay Area-wide Israel education project for eleven Bay Area day schools and a JCC North Shore (Massachusetts) Jewish Youth Initiative. ...More

April 2008

By on April 14th, 2008

The Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF) Directors, in their first 2008 Board meeting, approved two major and, we believe, significant capacity building grants together totaling more than 23 million dollars. These grants will strengthen Birthright Israel Foundation and Hillel in engaging young adults ages 18-30. The investment of 12.5 million dollars granted to Birthright Israel and 10.7 million dollars awarded to Hillel (each over five years) will enable both organizations to move forward with the implementation of programs that are of key strategic priority to them. The programs themselves—Taglit-Birthright Israel community trips and alumni engagement in fifteen cities, and Hillel’s expansion of its successful Campus Educator/Campus Entrepreneur program to ten campuses—will be fueled by new types of Jewish professionals. These professionals will ...More

February 2008

By on February 14th, 2008

As we expand Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF) philanthropy, we will intensify efforts to show work products that reflect our thinking, doing and learning. The transparency we are trying achieve on this site is meant to give interested stakeholders insight into JJF’s approach to its philanthropy. We want our work to be accessible, understandable, and open to comment and critique. To that end, please find several additional reports linked to the site this month (News and Publications). Of note is the final installment of the research study that JJF commissioned Brandeis University to conduct in mapping the field of education of Jewish youth in the United States, Lessons from Mapping Jewish Education. You can also find a paper authored by ...More

December 2007 / January 2008

By on January 13th, 2008

The Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF) was officially incorporated in January of 2006. Throughout the first year, grants totaling $5,709,750 were awarded. The Foundation’s first strategic plan was approved at the year-end Board meeting, conducted on December 15, 2006. Since that December 2006 meeting the Directors approved grants totaling $46,516,847. We are pleased that for the first time on this site, you can link directly to a record of JJF’s major grants. You might be interested to see, as well, how we are fairing relative to our target strategies. The amount of funding granted by the Foundation is a single – and one dimensional - measure of its activity. A more complete profile of JJF’s philanthropy obviously would include descriptions ...More

November 2007

By on November 13th, 2007

The Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF) has awarded grants to the DeLeT programs (at Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College) and Pardes. Funds granted to DeLeT are for U.S. educators’ pre-service study while funding for Pardes will enrich its more than sixty alumni teaching in U.S. day schools. At the national level, JJF is a committed PEJE partner, working currently with that organization and the Adelson and AVI CHAI foundations as funders of a process examining a systematic approach to improving the identification, recruitment, preparation and retention of day school heads. Regionally, JJF is set to begin a theory of change/logic modeling project in Israel education for eleven Bay Area day schools. In less than two years, JJF has established itself ...More

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

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.