The Jim Joseph Foundation believes that Jewish learning and the Jewish community will be richer when leaders, educators, and participants better reflect the full diversity of today’s Jewish population. Working toward this vision has been a priority of the Foundation for many years. We became more explicit about this work when we updated our strategy in 2019 and added “engaging diverse voices and partners” as one of our core guiding principles.
At that time, we committed to prioritizing this principle in all our grantmaking strategies, in our hands-on work with grantee-partners, and in every department of the Foundation. Today, the desire to hear and learn from diverse voices and perspectives is part of the DNA of the Foundation. This practice is resonant with Jewish learning and is enshrined in the Talmud (primary source of Jewish religious law and theology) where different voices engage over the years through their own lived experience and context. There are many approaches that nonprofits utilize for culture change work. We hope that the information below offers a helpful look into what the Jim Joseph Foundation has done and continues to do in this space.
The Jim Joseph Foundation has undertaken a process, which began in January 2020, that includes a deep review and update of our own internal policies and procedures with an equity focus, conducting one-on-one interviews with all professional team members, multiple trainings facilitated by external facilitators for our team members, and goal setting exercises by each functional team. We have periodic internal learning and discussion groups addressing DEI, all of which inform language the Foundation uses and shape our approaches to grantmaking and evaluation.
Across the organization, we are committed to elevating and including diverse voices and perspectives both internally and in our external communications. This includes how we build teams, seek consultants, make grants, build internal processes, and share learnings and information. Each functional team also has developed DEI goals and strategies that it monitors itself against.
The intentionality with which we aim to learn from diverse voices is a recognition that the dominant culture in which we live does not provide equal opportunity for all voices and perspectives to be heard, and that for this work to be successful it requires culture change within our communal institutions, including the Foundation itself. We have explored our own assumptions and looked to uncover bias in pursuit of creating spaces for perspectives to be shared, heard, learned from, and incorporated into our communal educational models going forward.
We believe a proactive intention to create a culture of belonging and to bring in a multitude of voices makes for the best decision making and has the greatest potential to expand opportunities for connection, meaning, and purpose for young Jews, their families, and friends.
Centering the voices, perspectives, and needs of our diverse community enables the Foundation to better achieve our goals by making Jewish communal life meaningful for and accessible to all Jews, their families, and friends.
Learn more about our internal culture and staff values.
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The Jim Joseph Foundation utilizes many resources from grantee-partners, peer funders, and others in the field to inform its approach to DEI. We are always learning and welcome others to learn with us. For more information, please reach out to [email protected].