The New York Teen Initiative (NYTI) is the collaborative effort of UJA-Federation of New York and the Jim Joseph Foundation (as funding partners), and The Jewish Education Project (as lead operator) to redefine the New York area’s Jewish teen engagement field. This ambitious initiative unfolds as part of a national effort—spearheaded by the Jim Joseph Foundation—in which 14 foundations and federations are working together as a Funder Collaborative to expand and deepen Jewish teen education and engagement in 10 communities across the United States.
To evaluate the ongoing success of its second phase, NYTI has partnered with Rosov Consulting to explore the following five questions:
- In what ways and to what extent do NYTI programs demonstrate readiness to expand?
- To what degree does the diversity of the Jewish teens served by NYTI programs resemble the known diversity of the Greater New York City Jewish community?
- Has NYTI’s investment in marketing efforts—specifically the FindYourSummer.org website and the deployment of Find Your Summer Ambassadors—increased market awareness of NYTI?
- What is the ongoing impact of NYTI’s investment in scholarships on incentivizing participation, at a time when the level of subsidization is projected to decline?
- How has the new internship program—Summer Excelerator—fared? Was it able to successfully get off the ground, meet its recruitment goals, and meaningfully engage teens?
Stepping Up and Forward: NYTI 2019 (Phase II Year 1) Evaluation Report, March 2020
Since its launch in 2016, M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education has worked to advance, professionalize, and elevate the field of experiential Jewish education.
Many of M²’s signature programs bring cohorts of professionals together for many months to explore such concepts, the best known being their Senior Educators Cohort. In 2018, M2 received funding along with nine other educator training programs from the Jim Joseph Foundation to create professional development around “deep dives” into specific conceptual frameworks. The first was a Relational Learning Circle, for educators seeking to put relationship-building at the center of their work. After seeing this program’s success at engaging educators in bringing theory to their practice, M² decided to develop a Circle that would explore the application of other conceptual frameworks to Jewish education, as well as reach educators who might not have the ability to commit to a year-long program.
The Design of Immersive Experiences Circle consisted of three five-day seminars in March, May, and September 2019, offered as stand-alone experiences or in combination. Each drew upon a different field of knowledge to explore how educators can create and implement powerful immersive experiences, which M² defines as a “deliberately crafted educational experience where participants leave their home environment for a period lasting from two days to two months.”
As part of the evaluation work for the initiative, Rosov Consulting is producing a series of case studies of the peak moments–some form of intensive, residential, or retreat component–of each program. The second case study explores M²’s work in “The Architecture of Immersive Experiences.”
Building a Field by Bringing Theory to Practice: M²’s “The Architecture of Immersive Experiences,” Rosov Consulting, August 2019
Phase One of the New York Teen Initiative (NYTI) has been a four-year, nine-million-dollar endeavor to redefine the New York City area’s Jewish teen engagement through the incubation of new and innovative models for summer engagement, a robust online marketing platform (FindYourSummer.org), and the provision of scholarships to participating teens and their families. The Initiative is part of a national effort—spearheaded by the Jim Joseph Foundation—in which 14 foundations and federations are working together as a Funder Collaborative to expand and deepen Jewish teen education and engagement in 10 communities across the United States. Over its first four years, NYTI has been jointly funded by UJA-Federation of New York and the Jim Joseph Foundation, with The Jewish Education Project serving as lead operator.
A team at Rosov Consulting has partnered with NYTI to evaluate the efficacy of this endeavor. This report explores NYTI’s ongoing and lasting impact on the programs it has incubated, their sponsor organizations, and the many teens who have benefited from these programs.
In its first four years, NYTI has introduced to the field of Jewish teen engagement a diverse array of programmatic approaches, concepts, and models, some of which are now being replicated by other program providers. It has supported the personal and Jewish growth of hundreds of teens, many of whom would not have otherwise connected to Jewish life. And it has promoted hundreds of Jewish engagement programs through the implementation of FindYourSummer.org.
Cracking the Programming Code: The New York Teen Initiative and Its Contribution to the Field of Summer Experiences and the Lives of Jewish Teens, Rosov Consulting, May 2019
In 2017, the Foundation simultaneously awarded three-year grants to ten different programs offering professional development of Jewish educators. Selected in the Foundation’s first ever competitive RFP process, these programs form a grantee cohort with a Professional Learning Community at its heart. The educators served by these programs include Federation professionals, early childhood directors, day school educators, Talmud teachers, and peer educators.
A team from Rosov Consulting is facilitating the Professional Learning Community and is also evaluating multiple dimensions of the professional development initiative. Rosov Consulting is examining who is being recruited to the 10 programs and their motivations for participation; the ways in which different programs work to develop their participants; and how participants grow professionally, and the outcomes of this growth for their respective fields.
As part of the evaluation work for the initiative, Rosov Consulting is producing a series of case studies of the peak moments–some form of intensive, residential, or retreat component–of each program. The first case study is of the JCC Association Sheva Center for Leadership Institute (SCLI), an initiative intended to build a pipeline in the field of early childhood education of prepared leadership.
Sheva Center Leadership Institute: A Jim Joseph Foundation Case Study, Rosov Consulting, November 2018
The Hiddur Initiative, a project of the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC), with support from the Jim Joseph Foundation, AVI CHAI Foundation, and the Maimonides Fund, guides Jewish residential camps through a process to improve their Jewish vision and programming in service of inspiring campers to live engaged, knowledgeable, and joyful Jewish lives. The project was piloted in eight residential camps for a three-year period and has just completed its third and final year.
Hiddur employed a cohort of seasoned camp educators who were each matched as coaches with Jewish residential camps, with the goal of supporting the camps’ development of tools and skills to improve their Jewish experiential education programs. Coaches met with their camps on a regular basis throughout the year and worked with camps in person during the fall, spring, and summer. Camps, in turn, committed to working with their coach and engaging lay-leaders in the Hiddur process. Collectively, the goal of these activities was to improve each camp’s Jewish educational vision and practice, and, as a result, campers’ Jewish engagement.
In this third and final year of Rosov Consulting’s work with the Hiddur Initiative, the evaluators concentrated their work on evaluating the camps’ efforts to engage staff and impact campers, while at the same time comparing Year 3 data to Years 1 and 2. In each year of Hiddur, Rosov Consulting collected both qualitative and quantitative data.
Beautification and Exploration: Evaluating Three Years of the Hiddur Initiative
The Greater Boston Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative (the Initiative), launched in January of
2014 by Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston (CJP) and the Jim Joseph Foundation, aims to enhance Jewish teen lives in the Greater Boston area. This report provides an overview of key evaluation findings and considerations from data collected in Phase III of the Initiative’s evaluation. The evaluation used a mixed methods approach, including surveys with two key informant groups and interviews with members of three additional groups.
CJP Boston Jewish Teen Education & Engagement Initiative Evaluation, Phase 3 Report: 2017-2018, October 2018
The Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative is an unprecedented collaboration of national and local funders working together to develop, nurture, and scale new approaches to teen engagement. More than five years ago, the Foundation brought together ten communities to begin co-investing in new teen engagement efforts that would be informed by up-to-the-minute research and data. The participating communities today are united by six shared Measures of Success and are guided by Outcomes Which Positively Affect the Lives of Jewish Teens, a paradigm shift that demands that educators and the institutions in which they work deeply consider their core mission and now ask, “how can our work help this teen thrive as a human being in today’s complex and challenging world?”
Emerging Trends: Insights from the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative, Sara Allen, Director of the Collaborative, September 2018
Read the full Cross-Community Evaluation Findings for the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative, Rosov Consulting, September 2018
In this report, Rosov Consulting presents a set of 18 findings stemming from its analysis of quantitative and qualitative data gathered by evaluators working in eight of 10 communities constituting the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative during 2017. At the heart of the matter lie three central learning questions:
- How and to what extent are the community-based Jewish teen education and engagement initiatives collectively achieving the goals outlined in the Shared Measures of Success?
- What best practices and learnings emerging from the work of these initiatives (both anticipated and unanticipated) can be applied across the communities and to other Jewish education and engagement settings?
- How does variability across communities influence the design, implementation, and outcomes of the local community-based Jewish teen education and engagement initiatives?
Cross-Community Evaluation Findings for the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative, September 2018
Read a companion piece to the cross-community evaluation, Emerging Trends: Insights from the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative, Sara Allen, Director of the Collaborative, September 2018
Moishe House is the global leader in creating meaningful Jewish experiences for young adults in their 20s and early 30s, and now provides 10,000 programs annually, engaging more than 50,000 unique young adults (with more than 200,000 in total attendance each year). This evaluation is a follow-up to studies conducted in 2011 and 2015. It assesses the ongoing impact of the Moishe House model, with an emphasis on examining the newer Moishe House Without Walls (MHWOW) program. Evaluation findings presented in this executive summary are drawn from a survey conducted in late 2017 through early 2018, modified from the previous evaluation survey, as well as from program tracking data.
- As Moishe House expands its reach and offerings (by 150% since 2011), it continues to yield a high impact, deepening participants’ connection to Judaism, Jewish community, and Jewish life. Moishe House helps young adults become stronger leaders in the Jewish community.
- As Moishe House continues to grow, it may be gradually attracting a growing proportion of participants with more nominal Jewish backgrounds.
- Beyond Moishe House’s house-based programs, MHWOW is a strategic way to engage young Jewish adults in Jewish experiences that are meaningful to them.Moishe House leaves a lasting impact on hosts, residents, and participants alike.
- Over time, people maintain their feelings of connection, continue their engagement in Jewish life, and retain knowledge and confidence in leading certain aspects of Jewish life.
Moishe House: 2018 Evaluation Findings, May 2018, Informing Change
The four-year, nine-million-dollar New York Teen Initiative is a jointly funded investment of the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jim Joseph Foundation. With The Jewish Education Project serving as lead operator, the Initiative seeks to redesign and redefine the area’s Jewish teen engagement through the creation of compelling summer experiences. The Initiative builds on UJA Federation of New York’s historic and current efforts to support programs that attract teenagers to Jewish life and experiences. The Initiative is part of a national effort — spearheaded by the Jim Joseph Foundation — in which 14 foundations and federations are working together as a “Funder Collaborative” to expand and deepen Jewish teen education and engagement in 10 communities across the United States.
Conceived as an effort that would set in motion a long-term sea change in Jewish teen programming, the NYTI includes three main components:
1. Incubation of new programmatic models for Jewish teen summer experiences, including local New York area programs, domestic travel in the United States, and Israel travel.
2. Comprehensive marketing to increase awareness of new and existing summer opportunities.
3. Scholarship programs to help make new and existing summer experiences more affordable for teens’ families.
New York Teen Initiative: Taking Root and Branching Out, Year 3 Evaluation Findings, March 2018
The Denver Boulder Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative (the Initiative) began in 2014 with a partnership between Rose Community Foundation and Jim Joseph Foundation. The Initiative was conceived in response to research and a community engagement process done in 2010 by Rose Community Foundation’s Jewish Life Committee and the Allied Jewish Federation (now JEWISHcolorado) about engaging Jewish teens in greater Denver and Boulder.
The desired ultimate impact from this Initiative is that throughout their lives, every teen in the Denver and Boulder Jewish communities can answer the question, “How can my Judaism inform, inspire, and advance the good I seek to do in the world?” To accomplish this, the four-year Initiative (2014–18) was created with three initial objectives in mind, and with an undercurrent of innovation running through its activities. The three objectives are:
1. Increase funding to existing innovators and new projects as a means to provide higher quality experiences and achieve incremental growth in teen participation.
2. Increase the number and quality of Jewish professionals and trained volunteers working with Jewish teens.
3. Promote youth-initiatives and youth-led ideas that engage teens and their peers in Jewish life.
The Initiative funders partnered with Informing Change to evaluate the Initiative over the first three years of its four-year lifespan.
Expanding Innovative Opportunities for Jewish Teens: Learnings from a Three-Year Evaluation of the Denver Boulder Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative, March 2018, Executive Summary, Full Report
Preschool is an extraordinary time of connectedness and openness for children as well as parents. At no other time will parents be so involved—so literally present—in their children’s schooling. During the early childhood years, parents reshape the way they spend their time, who they spend it with, and who they turn to as advisors. Children are also eager to learn and are developing socio-emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually.
To take advantage of this time in families’ lives, in 2011 the Early Childhood Family Engagement Initiative (ECFEI) of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, with significant support from the Jim Joseph Foundation, launched the Jewish Resource Specialist (JRS) Initiative. The JRS Initiative is intended to make the early childhood years a true gateway into Jewish life for children and their families. With ongoing coaching, mentoring, and supports from the JRS faculty at ECFEI, a teacher or other staff member is designated to spend 10 hours per week as a preschool’s JRS educator. In this role they are tasked with deepening Jewish learning at the preschool and increasing family engagement in Jewish life more generally. The JRS Initiative is designed to help Jewish early childhood education (ECE) programs realize their commitment to build a Jewish experience and environment for children and families.
The JRS Initiative also addresses the dearth of leaders working to build the field of Jewish ECE. Those who want to focus on Jewish ECE and build communities of engaged Jewish families with preschool-aged children are challenged to find the support, mentors, and professional development opportunities they need to craft a career path. The JRS Initiative seeks to meet these field-wide demands by developing the skills and Jewish knowledge of small cohorts of JRS educators who then bring ideas and guidance to their schools.
The JRS model has demonstrated, over two cohorts of ECE programs, that it can effectively address these needs during a three-year cycle of grant funding, educational curricula, and corollary supports. Evidence from an evaluation of the JRS pilot and subsequent data collected in 2017 provide evidence of lasting change.
Enhancing Jewish Learning & Engagement in Preschool Life (Executive Summary), January 2018
Enhancing Jewish Learning & Engagement in Preschool Life (Executive Summary and Full Report), January 2018