From Our Blog

Mitigating Risk of a Risky Grant

By Aaron Saxe on February 21st, 2017

“It’s an incubator. All of it is a risk.” – Michele Friedman, Foundation for Jewish Camp, Director of New Camp Initiatives When the Jim Joseph Foundation made a $10 million grant to the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) in 2007 to launch the Specialty Camp Incubator, the field of Jewish camping was in a vastly different place than it is today. Jewish specialty camping was in its infancy, with only a smattering of specialty programs embedded in traditional Jewish overnight camps. While incubators were becoming a popular method to kick-start new ventures both in and out of the Jewish world, incubating a cohort of new camps was new to the field of camping writ large, let alone ...More

The Enjoyably Unexpected “Ah-Ha” Moments of Site Visits

By Aaron Saxe on November 2nd, 2015

Leaving the confines of the Jim Joseph Foundation offices for an on-the-ground visit with grantees is both an important and genuinely enjoyable part of the job as a program officer. I credit these “site visits” for playing a significant part in my continued growth at the Foundation over the last six months. They have strengthened my relationship with grantees and greatly improved my understanding of a grant program or organization in which the Foundation invested. Yet, the lessons learned from a site visit are not always immediately obvious or what one might expect. Sometimes this learning occurs in surprising ways and at surprising times. Moreover, what has crystalized for me is the idea that both the formal and informal parts of site ...More

A “Sneak Peak” of Lessons Learned to Share with the Field

By on February 4th, 2014

In the first few months of 2014, Jim Joseph Foundation grantees will share numerous evaluations and model documentations with the field. There are also several reports of field-wide import in which the Foundation has been involved in preparing that we anticipate will be released. We are excited to help disseminate these learnings, advance the conversation on effective Jewish education, and work with partners to create new Jewish learning opportunities. But before that, I am pleased to share with you a “sneak peak” of these items that we hope will prove to be of value to you.

  • A model documentation report on the North Shore Teen Initiative will be released next month. This initiative appears to have changed the landscape of Jewish teen ...More

No Summer Break for Jewish Learning

By on July 8th, 2013

Summer is upon us.  For some, the season brings a reduced work load and a much needed respite from a demanding schedule.  But for literally thousands of beneficiaries of Jim Joseph Foundation funding support, these few summer months are suffused with the ruach of living in an immersive Jewish environment, intensive Jewish study, and powerful peer learning experiences. Most obvious to readers of this column is the fact that summer Jewish residential camping imbues youth and camp staff with Jewish memories that often last a life time.  In 2013, five Jim Joseph Foundation funded Jewish specialty camps will host an estimated 1400 campers guided by approximately 226 counselors.  These camps emerged out of a masterly crafted Foundation for Jewish Camp Specialty ...More

The Benefits of Multi-Year Grantmaking

By on January 2nd, 2013

Cultivating a collaborative funder-grantee relationship takes a concerted effort on behalf of both parties to build trust, value transparency, and share knowledge. In 25 years of grantmaking experience (more than six at the Jim Joseph Foundation), I have also seen how multi-year grantmaking is a catalyst in cultivating this type of relationship, which both helps the Foundation achieve its strategic priorities and vision and can be a key element for a grantee to achieve success. The Jim Joseph Foundation had key decisions to make when it was founded in 2006 and deciding to focus on multi-year grants was a major one. There is no right or wrong way to do it, but for the Foundation it seemed the most viable way ...More

Jewish Education “in a Café, Under a Tree, or in a Dorm”

By on October 23rd, 2012

In some ways, newly hired educators Jordan Magidson, Jessica Shimberg, and Zac Johnson each fit the expected profile for a Jewish educator. Magidson, who started work as a Nadiv Educator at URJ Camp Kalsman and Temple de Hirsch Sinai, completed a Master’s in Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. Rabbi Shimberg, currently Associate Director for Jewish Life and Learning at University of Maryland Hillel, received rabbinic ordination at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Rabbi Johnson, currently a Director of Jewish Enrichment in BBYO’s Western regions, is an alumnus of the Shalom Hartman Institute and Yeshivat Hadar’s summer program. But these educators’ traditional credentials belie changes occurring in the training and hiring of experiential Jewish educators. Since evaluation has demonstrated the ...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.