From the Foundation Team

August 2006

August 13th, 2006

Jim Joseph cared deeply about philanthropy.  In a meeting with a group of advisors in December of 2003 (just a few days before his tragic death), Jim explained that once “we spend time on philanthropy, whatever [it is], think of it as our child.” Jim’s intent was that we nurture what we begin.

Jim Joseph Foundation’s Directors, following Jim’s advice to solicitously nurture philanthropic enterprise, have committed to thoughtful planning before embarking on a path of foundation grant making.

Among the planning activities is a project Brandeis University’s Cohen Center is currently conducting on behalf of the Foundation.  Dr. Amy Sales leads a research team that is mapping the field of education of Jewish youth in the United States.  The study will identify “hot spots” where significant investment of resources has resulted in programs and organizational capacity building that evidence promising results.

The Brandeis study will serve three critical purposes:

  • Illuminate for Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF) Directors and its professionals how Jewish education, broadly speaking, is delivered in the United States.  The study will highlight institutional structures that work; describe sources and flow of innovation in Jewish education; and profile how eight local communities organize themselves to provide education experiences for Jewish youth.
  • Stimulate creative thought by describing for the JJF successful, exemplary approaches to persistent challenges in the field.
  • Help the Foundation identify potential leverage points that should lead, ultimately, to enhanced effectiveness in JJF grant making.

Education of Jewish youth in the United States has acquired a generative character.  There is increasing evidence that it renews itself continuously on institutional and program levels. There are abundant opportunities the JJF will have the privilege of funding.  It intends to do so in a deliberative, strategic way.