From Our Blog

Can you hear me now? Why Face-to-Face Interactions Still Matter in the Modern Age

By Margie Bogdanow and Dena Shaffer on October 17th, 2017

In the year 5778, the future, it seems, is now. If someone 50 years ago time-traveled to today and saw the myriad technologies and devices that make possible working virtually, she would be amazed, to say the least. She would see a professional environment for many where video conference, shared screens (of all kinds), emails, texts, and other virtual communication are the norm. Wow. In many regards, we are fortunate to operate with these options. Geography, and sometimes even budgets, suddenly become nearly irrelevant as people around the world can collaborate, learn from each other, and trouble-shoot challenges either in real-time or as soon as they’re able to check their smart phone. The timing and place is entirely up to the ...More

What the Specialty Camp Incubator Signals to the Field of Jewish Education

By Michele Friedman and Ellen Irie on September 5th, 2017

Five years ago, Foundation for Jewish Camp, with the support of the Jim Joseph and AVI CHAI Foundations, launched the second cohort of Jewish Specialty Camp Incubator. With the conclusion of the grant period late last year, an independent evaluation (viewable as Executive Summary and Full Report), conducted by Informing Change, shows many of the same important, positive outcomes as were seen in the first incubator: Incubator camps attract middle and high school youth who wouldn’t otherwise attend Jewish camp; The camps’ specialties drive camp enrollment and help keep campers coming back; With Incubator staff guidance, the four camps quickly developed the infrastructure necessary for organizational growth and stability; Incubator camps infuse Jewish content into the camp ...More

Jewish Education: An Every Day Response to Hate

By The Jim Joseph Foundation on September 1st, 2017

Like so many, we are angry, upset and concerned by the recent public demonstrations of anti-Semitism, racism, and hatred in this country. As a foundation devoted to Jewish education and Jewish life, the events in Charlottesville struck a particular nerve—especially knowing that our founder, Jim Joseph, z”l, came to the United States with his family as a young child to escape the rise of Nazism in Eastern Europe. The recent displays of hatred and violence by white nationalists move us to take action, and to invite others to do the same. With the school year beginning, we see a clear opportunity to support educators to channel their students’ concerns about these events into essential lessons about tolerance and civil discourse and ...More

Making Sense: Reflecting on Evaluations at the Jim Joseph Foundation

By Stacie Cherner on August 16th, 2017

A core part of the Jim Joseph Foundation’s relational approach to grantmaking is supporting grantees to evaluate their programs—either through engaging an external evaluator or by collecting and analyzing data internally.  The Foundation has always believed this is good grantmaking; it builds the capacity of organizations to ask questions, to collect data, and to reflect on findings in a way that then enables changes to be made to increase success. In this period of transition at the Foundation, the grantmaking team has asked some pertinent questions regarding our evaluation program: “What are we learning from the evaluation work we have supported over the past eleven years?” and “Are there common lessons and emerging themes that we ...More

From Grant Funding to Sustainability, Life After “Start-Up”

By Adam Smith on August 8th, 2017

In 2009, Jewish Teen Initiative – Boston (JTI), then known as the North Shore Teen Initiative (NSTI), launched in the 23 cities and towns just north of Boston as an innovative, first-of-its-kind program aimed at addressing the alarming trend of teens disconnecting from their Jewish faith and community after Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Now, a little more than eight years later, JTI has become a national model for Jewish teen engagement, with lessons learned being adapted in communities around the country. Created and launched in partnership, and with 100 percent grant funding from the Jim Joseph Foundation, JTI is now independent and building a path toward sustainability – with bumps, bruises and ultimately valuable lessons learned along the way. ...More

Questions for Funders – Nurturing an Ecosystem to Embrace Technological Advances for Jewish Education

By Jarred Myers and Nicky Newfield on July 12th, 2017

This is part 6 of the series in eJewishPhilanthropy, Continuing Conversations on Leveraging Educational Technology to Advance Jewish Learning. The series is a project of Jewish Funders Network, the Jim Joseph Foundation, and the William Davidson Foundation. For an in-depth look at opportunities in Jewish Ed Tech and digital engagement, read Smart Money: Recommendations for an Educational Technology and Digital Engagement Investment Strategy. Later this year, Jewish Funders Network will launch a new website to help advance the field of Jewish educational technology. Educational Technology (EdTech) is a burgeoning field that has made significant progress in recent years. Our Jewish Education systems are slowly and steadily adapting to this and we are witnessing the emergence ...More

Scale-Up Nation

By Jarred Myers and Nicky Newfield on July 5th, 2017

This is part 5 of the series in eJewishPhilanthropy, Continuing Conversations on Leveraging Educational Technology to Advance Jewish Learning. The series is a project of Jewish Funders Network, the Jim Joseph Foundation, and the William Davidson Foundation. For an in-depth look at opportunities in Jewish Ed Tech and digital engagement, read Smart Money: Recommendations for an Educational Technology and Digital Engagement Investment Strategy. Later this year, Jewish Funders Network will launch a new website to help advance the field of Jewish educational technology. Are basic literacyJewish culture and Judaic values still adequate to enable Jews to change the world?

Photo by Teddy Kelley ...More

A Crash Course on Releasing an RFP

By Barry Finestone on June 27th, 2017

Just before Passover this year, the Jim Joseph Foundation released two open Request for Proposals (RFP)—one addressed Educator Professional Development (PD); the other addressed Leadership Development. This marked the first time the Foundation embarked on this process, and is another new development among a year of changes for the Foundation. Designing, releasing, and reviewing Letters of Interest (LOI)—we recently contacted the 146 organizations that submitted LOIs to let them know if they were selected as finalists—has been inspiring, challenging, and ripe with learnings both for the Foundation and, we believe, the field. While we clearly are still in the midst of this process, here’s a quick take on some interesting observations. What we see in the field:

  • Newsflash! Lots of different ...More

A History of the “Future of Jewish Education”

By Russel Neiss on June 13th, 2017

This is part 2 of the series in eJewishPhilanthropy, Continuing Conversations on Leveraging Educational Technology to Advance Jewish Learning. The series is a project of Jewish Funders Network, the Jim Joseph Foundation, and the William Davidson Foundation. For an in-depth look at opportunities in Jewish Ed Tech and digital engagement, read Smart Money: Recommendations for an Educational Technology and Digital Engagement Investment Strategy. Later this year, Jewish Funders Network will launch a new website to help advance the field of Jewish educational technology. In 1911, William Inglis, writing for Harper’s Weekly profiled Thomas Edison’s latest invention that he guaranteed would, “make school so attractive that a big army with swords and guns couldn’t keep boys ...More

Are we investing in the same people twice? Spoiler Alert – the answer is “Yes!”

By Steven Green on May 17th, 2017

A common question in philanthropy is whether there is double counting of the number of beneficiaries a funder’s grant dollars serves. Often, by asking this question, there is an implicit bias that reaching the same individuals more often than a single intervention is not a desired outcome. Why is this question relevant to the Jim Joseph Foundation? On a cursory level, approximately 18% of the active grants in our portfolio provide Jewish education and engagement opportunities to youth and families with young children [age 2-12]; 39% to teens [age 13-17]; 22% to college-age students [age 18-22]; and 21% to post-college [age 18-35]. The same individual could be a PJ Library recipient, then a BBYO member, then a Hillel-engaged student, then ...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.