From Our Blog

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

My First Pesach at the Jim Joseph Foundation: Reflections from a Program Associate

By Jeff Tiell on April 13th, 2015

For all Jews worldwide, it recently was Pesach. What did it mean to you? To me, every year, it means reflection on two questions emanating from the same root: Am I free and Are we free? The “we” meaning my family, my friends, my communities (Jewish and otherwise), my city, our society, our world. These questions could be unpacked in a host of different ways, discussed, argued, and contested. After all, that’s the point right? For me, these questions held special significance this Pesach because I asked them as a recent hire of the Jim Joseph Foundation. At the end of January I began my job as Program Associate at the Foundation. The Program Associate role is a new one for ...More

Creating 21st Century Jewish Experiences: A Look Back at the 2015 Council of American Jewish Museums Annual Conference

By Lori Starr - Executive Director of The Contemporary Jewish Museum - San Francisco on April 9th, 2015

From March 8 – 10, 2015, The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) was delighted to host the 2015 Council of American Jewish Museums (CAJM) Annual Conference. Over 250 delegates convened at The CJM, as well as the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley, for animated discussions revolving around the conference’s theme: “Open Source:  Jewish Museums and Collaborative Culture.” Inspired by the Bay Area’s status as a national symbol and a harbinger of the future, the conference explored how California’s experiments in the social, cultural, political, and economic realms can inform Jewish museum practices. [caption id="attachment_5144" align="alignright" width="300"]...More

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at an Evaluators’ Consortium

By Sandy Edwards, Stacie Cherner on April 9th, 2015

In the midst of its tenth year, the Jim Joseph Foundation has created what might be called “a family of beneficiaries.” There are young Jews who have, as an example, traveled to Israel on Birthright, lived in a Moishe House, enrolled in HUC-JIR, Mechon Hadar, or other education institutions, and perhaps earned credentials as expert Israel educators as part of a program with the iCenter. All of these exceptional institutions and organizations are grantees of the Foundation. Now, a new “family” is developing. And while these family members often operate behind-the-scenes, we believe they are equally as important to the Foundation’s pursuit of its mission. This family is comprised of a small number of highly skilled evaluators and researchers, which the ...More

A Bridge Leading Somewhere

By Steven Green on March 23rd, 2015

Since the Jim Joseph Foundation’s inception nine years ago, bridge funding has been a part of the Foundation’s grantmaking strategy. While usually defined by shorter grant periods, a bridge funding grant can have a significant catalyzing impact on the grantee—and often is indicative of an exciting new stage of organizational growth or direction. The Foundation’s bridge funding grants have most commonly followed a leadership transition in the organization and often have also resulted from the development of strategic and business plans, capacity building plans, and pivots in overall mission and vision. Bridge funding also has been awarded as an initial foray into capacity building when program funding had been awarded previously as a multi-year commitment. While these are common characteristics of ...More

Two-Year Faculty Development Program Represents a Microcosm of CCNMTL’s Work at Columbia

By Maurice Matiz is Director of the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) on March 17th, 2015

Maurice Matiz is Director of the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL). This blog originally appeared on the CCNMTL website. Last week, CCNMTL reached two important milestones: the center completed its 15th year of operations, and the eLearning Faculty Fellowship (eLFF) concluded its two-year run. The appreciative smiles on the part of the eLFF faculty fellows reminded me how much that program represents a microcosm of CCNMTL’s 15 years. The eLFF program provided year-long support for two sets of faculty fellows selected from three participating schools (Jewish Theological Seminary, Yeshiva University, and Hebrew Union-Jewish Institute of Religion). It was made possible because of our existing successful partnership withJTS ...More

Are You High Performance? Leap of Reason Can Help You Answer “Yes!”

By Chip Edelsberg on March 11th, 2015

In 2011, social-sector thought leader Mario Morino released a book entitled Leap of Reason. In essence, Morino argued that the social-sector could be vastly improved by relentlessly measuring results for which organizations held themselves accountable to achieve. Morino subsequently created a community of stakeholders committed to this perspective and a website as a portal for conversation about Leap of Reason’s thesis and main ideas. In the years that followed, Leap of Reason expanded from being a title of a book to the name of an ambitious initiative. Last month, this ambition was on full display as Leap of Reason’s e-newsletter asked a simple yet profound question: “Are you High Performance”? Of course, who doesn’t want to answer a resounding “Yes!” But nonprofits ...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.