From Our Blog

From Strength to Greater Strength: How Capacity Building Grants Elevate Organizations

By Chip Edelsberg on February 19th, 2015

In the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to identify and analyze best grantmaking strategies, we have seen grantees achieve outcomes that both strengthen organizational capacity and position organizations for future growth. By virtue of grantees’ strong performance, the Foundation is gaining experience as a capacity building funder. Before I share examples of successes, it is helpful to understand what a capacity building grant actually is designed to do. The term itself is somewhat general and may refer to different types of grants, depending on the context and situation of the potential grantee. Capacity building, broadly defined, refers to “activities that strengthen nonprofits so that they can better achieve their mission.”[1]  Tools exist to help organizations assess their capacity.[2]  Organizations at ...More

In Our Backyard: Israel Education Flourishing in the Bay Area

By Dawne Bear Novicoff on September 19th, 2014

As a mother of two school-aged children, a Jewish foundation professional working in the area of Israel Education, and lover of Israel, this summer’s situation in Israel created many reasons to worry. I worried for friends and family, soldiers and citizens, and victims on all sides. I worried for college students and Hillel professionals preparing to re-populate college campuses across the country. I also worried for my kids—born and raised in San Francisco—who have not yet visited Israel and clearly found the events confusing and scary. Judaic Studies Principal Dan Finkel’s guest blog earlier this month shared how his Bay Area day school—a member of the Jewish LearningWorks BASIS Israel Education Day School Project—is supporting educators to ...More

Reflections on Israel Education as 5775 Approaches

By Chip Edelsberg on September 2nd, 2014

With Rosh Chodesh Elul upon us and the High Holidays approaching, the Jim Joseph Foundation is preparing for the 40th meeting of its Board of Directors. The Foundation will devote the very first part of its two days of deliberations to discussing how the Foundation might respond, philanthropically, in the aftermath of the war in the Middle East – amid concerns about surging expressions of conspicuous anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment. In anticipation of this upcoming Board discussion, the Foundation’s professional team took stock of the Foundation’s current funding of Israel education and Israel education-related programs and projects. The Birthright Israel Foundation is the beneficiary of $31M of Jim Joseph Foundation funding. Brandeis University’s Summer Institute for Israel Studies has received $1.8M ...More

Israel Education and Engagement: The Evolution of a Field

By Chip Edelsberg on June 10th, 2014

Periodically in this column I take stock of Jim Joseph Foundation philanthropy dedicated to Israel education. I do so because the Foundation from its inception committed to fund Israel education as essential to the character of Jewish education the Foundation seeks to support and develop. Over the years, the Foundation’s investment in Israel education has steadily grown. The current portfolio of grants includes investments in Brandeis University’s Summer Institute for Israel Studies; UC Berkeley’s Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society; and the recently established Israel Institute. The Foundation is a major supporter of Birthright and NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation. The Foundation’s $31,025,000 of funding for these two entities has benefited literally thousands of young ...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

Israel Education at a New Stage

By on February 7th, 2013

The Jim Joseph Foundation continually seeks to deepen its knowledge of what constitutes effective Israel education. Within the last few months, several of the Foundation’s investments in Israel education have reached new stages of development. As a result, we have a better understanding of ways in which the Foundation’s philanthropy can help to build a bona fide field of Israel Education. The Foundation’s more than four years of funding for the Bay Area Israel Education Project (known as BASIS) has resulted in the development of an educational model that you will soon be able to access at the Jewish LearningWorks website. This model provides myriad tools for Israel education that day schools - and other educational organizations - can apply to ...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.