From Our Blog

Integrating Israel into Jewish Identity – March 2012

By on March 10th, 2012

The Jim Joseph Foundation views teens, youth and young adults who are beneficiaries of the Foundation’s grantees as sovereign, intentional, meaning-making individuals who instinctively desire to belong to supportive communities.  While the Foundation hopes that all these young people connect Israel to their Judaism in some purposeful way, we suspect this does not happen automatically. The Jim Joseph Foundation has a fairly straightforward approach to providing grant support that leads to opportunities for youth and young adults to integrate a relationship with Israel into their Jewish identity.  The Foundation believes that learning about Israel’s history and culture, its politics and people helps individuals to develop informed opinions about Israel.  The Foundation also thinks that an individual who has multiple immersive Israel ...More

Funding Strategies for Young Adults

By on January 5th, 2011

In December of 2010, I was asked to present lessons learned and recommendations for funding Jewish young adult programs at the opening meeting of the Impact Grants Initiative sponsored by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. Here is a link to the slides I prepared for the presentation. ...More

April 2007

By on April 18th, 2007

At this time of the year, it is natural to view the Foundation’s activity by contextualizing it within observance of Passover. For Jewish foundations, the themes of Passover—choice, renewal, inclusion, ritual—are worthy of reflection. Passover’s dramatic story of the Jewish exodus from that “narrow place” (Mitzrayim, i.e, Egypt) is a riveting narrative of a people liberating themselves from slavery. Today, the arc of freedom for American Jewry has reached its zenith. Jews enjoy unprecedented access to corporate offices, private spaces, and the public square. For the Jim Joseph Foundation (JJF), this reality necessitates understanding that Jews’ participation in Jewish education is voluntary, fluid, and self-directed. Concomitantly, the Foundation recognizes that Jewish educational experiences must be deeply engaging in order ...More

March 2007

By on March 18th, 2007

Jim Joseph Foundation professionals and its Directors are engaged in countless conversations with representatives of organizations and institutions that provide education for Jewish children, youth, and young adults in the United States. The Foundation’s evolving approach to its grant making is conversational in nature. We view thoughtful, probing, reflective, and ongoing discourse with the field as a vital way to do business. We are currently talking with more than a dozen prospective grantee partners. In each case, we envision opportunity to provide Foundation support that will advance our mission. JJF Directors expect its professionals to manage highly interactive processes of developing promising funding opportunities for the Board to consider. We do not accept proposals, issue RFPs, invite organizations as “vendors” to ...More

February 2007

By on February 18th, 2007

The question I am asked most frequently these days is “how does my organization go about being invited to apply for a Jim Joseph Foundation grant?” It’s a fair question, to be sure. Here’s how we operate at the Foundation to ensure we do the best job possible of inviting grantees to work with us in crafting promising proposals. First of all, we critically view the Foundation’s philanthropy through various value screens, the most important of which are the Foundation’s mission, vision, and its strategic goals. We also consistently apply a set of grant screening criteria to any prospective grantee: - Demonstrated need in the target population - Financial feasibility - Potential for funding partners - Strength of professional and lay leadership - Evaluation that will ...More

January 2007

By on January 18th, 2007

The New Year represents a moment in time to reflect on the past and to look forward. Directors and professionals at the Jim Joseph Foundation – despite being together “around the table” for less than a year – can appreciate the recent past and anticipate the future with great excitement. The Jim Joseph Foundation has completed its Strategic Planning. In following the lead of its extraordinarily generous founder, the Foundation will focus its grant making on education of Jewish children, teens, and young adults. The Foundation will commit substantial resources to support what it deems to be compelling educational experiences. We will concentrate on the sometimes seemingly intractable challenge of recruiting, training and retaining high quality Jewish educators. The Foundation is ...More

December 2006

By on December 18th, 2006

As the Foundation draws closer to solidifying its initial grant making priorities and strategies, we have gained clarity about its vision. The Jim Joseph Foundation envisions a future in which ever-increasing numbers of young Jews engage in meaningful, ongoing Jewish learning and choose, as a result of the compelling and inspirational quality of those learning experiences, to lead vibrant Jewish lives. While the Foundation’s understanding of the field continues to evolve, we are confident in what we have learned. Among the critical principles that we find to be especially pertinent are the following: - Discrete stages in child, youth, and young adult development possess distinctive characteristics that have implications for how learning and teaching best occur. - Learning experiences, in order to be ...More

November 2006

By on November 18th, 2006

I am gratified to report that the Foundation has kept pace with an aggressive schedule for conducting its first ever strategic planning process. This site contains links to many of the documents that inform our work. The staff's ongoing research into myriad programs of education for Jewish children and youth in the United States complements this baseline material. Our due diligence efforts are both concentrated and extensive. In the next eight weeks, Directors will refine the Foundation's mission; articulate its vision; determine major goals; and delineate grant making strategies. We will make difficult decisions among countless philanthropic opportunities. The Foundation seeks relevance as it strives to craft a focused agenda. We will frame grant making in a Jewish lens which reflects the ...More

September 2006

By on September 18th, 2006

The Jim Joseph Foundation was recently privileged to host a two day Retreat with distinguished madrichm (guides) Rabbi David Ellenson, Arthur Fried, Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, Alan Hoffmann, Richard Joel, Rachel Levin, Ruth Messinger, Jehuda Reinharz, and Jeff Solomon. (Invited guest Arnold Eisen unfortunately was unable to attend.) Each of these experienced, thoughtful Jewish leaders submitted a paper to the Foundation prior to the Retreat. Individually, the madrichim responded to a single question that is of great import and urgency to the Foundation: given the Foundation’s anticipated availability of 20 million dollars to grant, annually, on a perpetual basis, what strategic grant making opportunities in support of education of Jewish youth in the United States evidence greatest promise for making an indelible ...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.