From Our Blog

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

Making the most of technology in Jewish education

By Lewis J. Bernstein and Shira Ackerman on May 10th, 2017

You’ve seen the advertisements: A fit young woman pedals a stationary bicycle while an instructor on a video screen shouts encouragement. The company, Peloton, promises “fitness at your fingertips,” and both “live and on demand” spin classes and “world class instructors,” all from the comfort of your own home. What does a stationary bike company have to do with Jewish education? We believe that Judaism, a 4,000-year-old endeavor, has something important and timeless to say about building character and values; about dignity, persistence and survival skills; about humor, art and joy — all necessary attributes to build that better future. And we believe that media and technology have a place in this process to engage, model and teach. An Israeli ...More

Launching an Investment Strategy in Jewish Educational Leadership

By Seth Linden on April 25th, 2017

How might the Jewish world create, nurture and develop the next generation of Jewish education leaders? The professional staff and board at the Jim Joseph Foundation for the last 18 months have closely explored this question—drawing on 11 years of experience investing in Jewish educators, in Jewish learning experiences for youth, and in building the field of Jewish education to inform our answer. Through this exploration, we have gained an understanding that  supporting talented leaders is mission-aligned with supporting effective Jewish educators and helping to build the field in which they work. Specifically, investing in current and future leaders in Jewish education organizations is a leveraged strategy to achieve the Foundation’s broader mission. Many are now familiar with the ...More

Introducing “Smart Money: Recommendations for an Educational Technology and Digital Engagement Investment Strategy”

By Kari Alterman and Josh Miller on March 15th, 2017

In just a few days, Jewish philanthropists, foundation professionals and communal leaders will join together in Atlanta at the Jewish Funders Network (JFN) 2017 conference. We will learn, question, and explore a range of topics of import to our collective work.  For our foundations—the Jim Joseph Foundation and William Davidson Foundation—JFN 2017 will provide a special opportunity to share and discuss just-released findings from Smart Money: Recommendations for an Educational Technology and Digital Engagement Investment Strategy, a new report based on research conducted by Lewis J. Bernstein and Associates this past year. Our foundations chose to commission this study to address a core set of questions that feel pertinent in a world where technology has become such a ...More

Professional Preparation: A “Value Add” for Educators and their Employers

By Yael Kidron on January 23rd, 2017

Editor's Note: In October 2016, the Jim Joseph Foundation released the final evaluation from American Institutes for Research on the Education Initiative--the $45 million, six year investment in Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), and Yeshiva University (YU) for Jewish educator training. The Foundation and AIR shared some of the key findings and lessons learned from the Initiative. AIR also is releasing a series of blogs that delve more deeply into important findings from the evaluation--the second of which, below, discusses the value of professional preparation programs, and key characteristics that make those programs excellent.  Whether in a classroom, at a camp, at locations in a city, or nearly any other environment, effective Jewish learning ...More

From the Seminar to the Workplace: Programs That Promote Workforce Outcomes

By Yael Kidron and Ariela Greenberg on November 11th, 2016

Editor's Note: In October, the Jim Joseph Foundation released the final evaluation from American Institutes for Research on the Education Initiative--the $45 million, six year investment in Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), and Yeshiva University (YU) for Jewish educator training. The Foundation and AIR shared some of the key findings and lessons learned from the Initiative. AIR also is releasing a series of blogs that delve more deeply into important findings from the evaluation--the first of which, below, discusses programs that promote workforce outcomes. Operating successful educational programs requires continually evolving skills and knowledge. With the constant growth of educational research on effective strategies to promote student engagement, motivation, and learning ...More

Series of Final Reflections as Executive Director: A Concentrated Set of Priority Grants

By Chip Edelsberg on September 7th, 2016

One of the many privileges of having served as Executive Director of the Jim Joseph Foundation has been ample opportunity to contribute to the field of Jewish education. In personal conversations; at convenings, forums and conferences; through the Foundation’s website and on this blog; and in various publications, I have shared information on lessons learned by the Foundation through its $436 million of philanthropic investments. I have also opined on trends in the broader fields of education and philanthropy, all in an effort to advance the field about which the Foundation and readers of this blog care so deeply. Over the next two months, as I step down from the position in which I have been privileged to serve, I want ...More

The Benefits of Making Field Building a Team Sport

By Steven Green on August 25th, 2016

I realize that one of the first rules in communications is, “Don’t bury the lead!”  And yet, I feel compelled to begin with a bit of context before actualizing my metaphor.  As a five-year transplant to the Bay Area, to say that I entered Warriors fandom in the good years would be a drastic understatement.  Stephen Curry, ½ of the Splash Brothers, completed his 2nd MVP season; the Warriors took home the Championship in 2015 for the first time in 40 years following that with the first ever 73-win NBA season; and the ‘Dubs’ claim three All-Stars for the first time since 1976.  The fact that the team is owned by a distant cousin who I have never met is ...More

Filling a Void: Kevah’s Evolution into Educator Training

By Jeff Tiell on August 11th, 2016

Earlier this summer I spent a half-day with this year’s cohort of Kevah Teaching Fellows. Kevah is a nonprofit that empowers individuals and organizations to build Jewish learning communities by creating Kevah Groups matched to an outstanding Kevah educator. The Kevah Teaching Fellowship is a two-week cohort-based immersive learning experience for which 20 pluralistic Jewish educators from across the country come together to learn from experts in Adult Jewish Education, practice techniques in teaching workshops, and develop their teaching and facilitation skills in relationship with one another. Sitting in the sun-drenched Kevah offices in Berkeley, listening and learning with the Fellows and their program leader, Kevah’s Senior Rabbinic Educator Rabbi David Kasher, I was struck by how ...More

Jewish Learning Anchored in Culture, History and Preservation

By Michael A. Morris on July 29th, 2016

Editor's Note: The Jim Joseph Foundation supports Jewish educator training programs at institutions of higher education around the country. These programs help develop educators and education leaders with the skills to succeed in a variety of settings. This blog--the third in a series of reflections from participants in these training programs (read the first and second blogs)--is from Michael A. Morris, who will receive his Master's Degree from George Washington University's program in Experiential Education and Jewish Cultural Arts.  He works as a Museum Tour Guide with the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. My journey in the George Washington University’s Experiential Education and Jewish Cultural Arts (EE/JCA) program began in August 2015.  Now, in summer 2016, I’m completing ...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.