From Our Blog

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

When Experiments Go Well: How a New Investment from the Jim Joseph Foundation Will Help Moving Traditions’ National Expansion

By Deborah Meyer and Jeff Tiell on June 28th, 2017

The teen years have always been a challenge. Figuring out who you are; navigating complex social systems; being pressed to succeed academically; a body that changes from day to day—almost no adult would willingly return to adolescence. In our intense modern world, with a 24/7 fishbowl of social media and a heated and polarized public debate, it is no wonder that levels of anxiety and depression are increasing, even for the most successful teen children. Fortunately, we continue to learn more every day about how to best help teens. Years of research have identified the factors that support teens to grow and thrive: adult mentors; supportive peer groups; the safety to explore difficult and personal issues with depth and honesty; and a ...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

Adidas & Ascots: Effective Leadership Comes in Many Styles

By Dawne Bear Novicoff on March 22nd, 2017

Since November, I have been consumed with the stories of one of the most dramatic and confusing leadership transitions in our country’s history—filled with sordid tales and accusations of wiretaps and secret alliances.  Just days before President Trump assumed his place in the White House, we at the Jim Joseph Foundation experienced our own leadership transition as founding Executive Director Chip Edelsberg stepped down after 11 years of service. Unlike the staffers in the white house, we did not have to pack up our boxes and vacate the premises prior to moving day for the new administration.  Rather, my colleagues at the Foundation and I sat in the front seat and watched closely as the 18-month transition unfolded and came ...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


By Barry Finestone on December 22nd, 2016

That seems like the perfect title for this first blog. As I continue to settle into my role as President and CEO at the Jim Joseph Foundation, I feel welcomed by my colleagues, the Foundation Board, and so many of you who have sent congratulatory notes over the last month. For this, I want to express sincere thanks. I have, first and foremost, a deep sense of responsibility—to the Foundation’s grantees, Board, my colleagues, peer funders, and other individuals with whom we interact. Jim Joseph, z”l, left an indelible gift. Working inside (and often outside) these walls is an ongoing reminder of how fortunate we are to carry out the vision that Jim so clearly outlined.  As 2017 approaches, the Foundation continues ...More

Series of Final Reflections as Executive Director: Why Effective Philanthropy Requires Trust

By Chip Edelsberg on October 7th, 2016

In this, my penultimate blog as Executive Director for the Jim Joseph Foundation (read the first blog in this series here), I revisit a theme I have discussed numerous times in the past decade. For years, I have asserted that foundation personnel who conduct their business as transactions of authority and power—as opposed to a series of ongoing interactions in pursuit of partnerships to make enduring changes in the world—fail to optimize the potential of contemporary Jewish philanthropy. From both a professional grantmaking and Jewish values perspective, relational philanthropy that cultivates funder-grantee trust is an asset tangibly benefiting both participants.  The ultimate good, of course, redounds to beneficiaries of high performing Jewish 501c3 organizations and the righteous work they ...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.