Foundation Staff Articles


Any Given Sunday: San Diego’s Jewish Teen Service Summit

By Jeff Tiell, December 9th, 2016

sd-jewish-journalOn a Sunday earlier this month, I witnessed the burgeoning future of Jewish teen education in San Diego. As part of the new Motiv Initiative–the Jewish Teen Initiative in San Diego supported by the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, the Lawrence Family JCC, Jacobs Family Campus, and the Jim Joseph Foundation—hundreds of teens came to learn about, and to do, service at its first Teen Service Summit. The Summit, which was well attended and filled with opportunities to engage in and to create meaningful Jewish ...More


The Benefits of Making Field Building a Team Sport

By Steven Green, December 6th, 2016

grantcraftThis past summer, at the first ever Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming, and Environmental Education (JOFEE) gathering at Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, a group of practitioners and foundation professionals came together around the shared purpose of building the field.

The Jim Joseph Foundation already shared some of the innovative learning and professional development that occurred, which certainly will help the field grow and mature. But another aspect of this gathering warrants an examination, because while at face value this type of gathering is ...More


Reflections on a Big Bet: The Education Initiative with HUC-JIR, JTS, and YU

By Yael Kidron and Dawne Bear Novicoff, October 27th, 2016

e-jewish-philanthropyWhen the Jim Joseph Foundation was founded in 2006, board members and other leaders in Jewish education held a series of meetings to determine a set of “strategic funding priorities.” While the foundation’s generous benefactor, Jim Joseph, z”l, ensured that Jewish education would be the sole focus of grant awards, he did not specify how the Foundation should pursue his vision. Ultimately, the Board identified three funding priorities, one of which is to increase the number and quality of Jewish educators and ...More


B’Yadenu: It’s In Our Hands To Create Inclusive Day Schools

By Alan Oliff and Stacie Cherner, August 8th, 2016

The Jewish WeekChildren are served best in classrooms and other learning environments that consistently take into account their specific learning needs. The support children receive is most effective when it is offered throughout the entire day of learning—by all educators—as opposed to only specific periods of the day. With this premise, in November 2011, the Jim Joseph Foundation awarded a grant to Boston-based Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) (in partnership with ...More


A Collaborative Investment to Build Shared Outcomes for Our Field

By Jon Woocher and Josh Miller, June 10th, 2016

PND logoA couple of years ago, four foundations set out to find the answer to a critically important question: How do we measure the success of our Jewish teen engagement and education initiatives? The question, while specific, also spoke to a real need. Our foundations recognized the importance of engaging the next generation of Jews in Jewish life as a way to ensure the vibrancy and longevity of our community. But there was a gap between what our community's teen initiatives accomplished and ...More


Counting All Educators, and Learning as We Count

By Dawne Bear Novicoff, May 31st, 2016

E-Jewish-philanthropyIn San Francisco, the school year is about to end. Teachers and children (mine included!) are counting down the final days to summer. In the Jewish calendar, we are counting, too, but upwards rather than down as we mark the days of the Omer. The end of the school year is a special time – one of marking accomplishments and celebration of learning. It is also a time to celebrate educators. We bring them gifts, make cards and take a moment to acknowledge ...More


Turning a Visit Into an Immersive Experience

By Steven Green, May 11th, 2016

PND logoThe Jim Joseph Foundation invests in curated immersive learning experiences and the training of talented educators who facilitate them. From a pedagogical view, these kinds of experiences stand in contrast to the simpler "trip to the museum," which by itself typically lacks the educational component needed to catalyze learning. In contrast, an immersive learning experience provides an opportunity for a participant's growth in terms of knowledge, character, and identity. One example of the value of such an opportunity is found in a 1970 ...More


4 Steps to Get Young Volunteers Involved in Social Change

By Chip Edelsberg and Lisa Eisen, April 25th, 2016

Chronicle of PhilanthropyToday’s young adults possess passion and energy in abundance. They are ambitious, smart, creative, and driven by a desire to help others. They know how to bring new technologies and networks of peers to bear on the hard work of community building. They are dreamers and doers in equal measure. All of which makes them integral to any effort to take on our toughest social, civic, and humanitarian challenges. Indeed, the question most grant makers — ourselves included — struggle with ...More


Measuring Outcomes Across Grantees and Over Time

By Stacie Cherner, March 31st, 2016

PND logoWhen the Jim Joseph Foundation's evaluators’ consortium met last November, the overall focus was on the long road ahead toward developing a common set of measures — survey items, interview schedules, frameworks for documenting distinctive features of programs — to be used as outcomes and indicators of Jewish learning and growth for teens and young adults. Consortium members and the foundation were especially excited to learn about the work led by George Washington University to develop a ...More


Time is on our Side

By Steven Green, January 28th, 2016

GrantcraftThere is a great disparity between the nonprofit organizations that provide services ranging from hunger relief to the arts, and the traditionally slower-to-act philanthropic foundations that fund them. The fastest acting organizations deliver resources immediately to those in need; the more “tortoise”-like foundations engage in diligent planning towards long-term solutions. With this pace spectrum in mind, I think that all parties would benefit by meeting each other midway to work together for longer periods of time leading up to a grant’s proposal ...More


Essential Lessons for Educating Jewish Teens

By Josh Miller, October 27th, 2015

Peoplehood Papers 16Over the past several years the Jim Joseph Foundation has invested significant time and resources into deepening our understanding of how the Jewish community can better engage teens in effective, compelling Jewish learning experiences. Two essential lessons we have learned are that:

  1. Having a meaningful influence on teens in any context starts by taking a genuine interest in what matters most to them.
  2. The role of adults is to work with teens, in partnership, to help them to create Jewish learning experiences they ...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.