The Covenant Foundation Announces New Grants

New York, Jan 7, 2015—The Covenant Foundation announced $1.6 million in new grants today as part of its mission to support and advance excellence and impact in Jewish education.

Across the spectrum of Jewish educational venues and approaches – from community centers and digital labs, to day schools and synagogues – this new round of grants underscores a commitment to innovative work that is redefining and strengthening the scope, reach and depth of Jewish education.

“We are going where bold ideas and dogged implementation reside,” said Eli N. Evans, Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Covenant Foundation. “These new grantees have ideas and approaches of great promise for success, effect and adaptation elsewhere. They are change makers in Jewish education.”

Foundation grants are divided into two categories: Signature grants, which provide funding for up to $250,000 for up to five years, and Ignition grants, of up to $20,000 for one year to support new and untested approaches.

The grants announced today are part of approximately $1.8 million to be distributed this year.

“Those in Jewish education have great visions not only for the future, but for right now,” said Harlene Winnick Appelman, Executive Director of The Covenant Foundation. “We welcome the opportunity to dream with these impressive practitioners in the field and help them turn these visions into reality.”

Signature grantees include:

  • 92nd Street Y, New York: $225,000 over three years to launch the Shababa Network, a professional development program engaging Jewish professionals across the country in the philosophy and application of the Shababa approach, used at the 92nd Street Y and leveraging creative arts in intergenerational Jewish family experiences and learning.
  • Citizen Film, San Francisco, CA: $150,000 over three years to partner with Columbia University’s Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies to develop and cultivate a network of professors and graduate students using digital storytelling and other emerging media to inspire and advance exploration and study of Jewish subjects.
  • Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel, Boise, ID: $30,000 for one year to develop and implement Shir Transformation, a congregational music education program reaching and engaging members of the synagogue and affiliated and unaffiliated Jews throughout Boise and the greater northwestern region.
  • Edah, Berkeley, CA: $150,000 over three years to develop the Jewish Learning Innovation Corps, a cohort of young, emerging Jewish educators immersed in the knowledge and skills to design, facilitate and execute Hebrew language and Judaic studies based on Edah’s model of experiential, Hebrew-infused learning for children and their families.
  • Habonim Dror North America, New York: $45,000 for one year to grow the Shlav Hachshara Bet Leadership Program, providing advanced learning and leadership training and development to college-aged Jewish young adults.
  • Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, Milwaukee, WI: $115,000 for one year to support The Midwestern Artists’ Laboratory Network and its expansion into three new cities. The Network is a channel for selected artists to explore and interpret Jewish themes in their works and to engage the public through their art.
  • Jewish Community Centers Association of North America, New York: $230,000 over three years to create the Early Childhood Education and Family Engagement Directors Institute to develop leadership in the field of Jewish Community Center Early Child Education and advance and strengthen the field.
  • Jewish Education Center of Cleveland: $95,850 over two years for Engaging Texts, an initiative to professionally develop a national network of Jewish educators using a pedagogy involving children in a search for Jewish identity and meaning through encounters with biblical text.
  • Jewish Family Service, Seattle, WA: $109,245 for three years to design, develop and implement Project Kavod, an initiative to provide staff, board members, volunteers and others with new opportunities to examine the Jewish roots of the organization’s mission and work and enhance their capacity to serve.
  • Jon Adam Ross, New York: $150,000 for three years for inHEIRitance: The Genesis of Our Stories, a project involving the communal creation of five theater productions in five different Jewish communities. The works will explore how narratives of Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs resonate and intersect with the communities where performances are produced.
  • Let it Ripple, Inc., Mill Valley, CA: $45,000 for one year for the creation and distribution of educational materials for a Jewish-themed version of The Science of Character, a short film exploring development of individuals and greater society.
  • The Reform Temple of Forest Hills, New York: $98,320 for two years for development and implementation ofProject 613, a digital badging system for the congregational school to blend in-class and at-home learning objectives.
  • Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, New York: $150,000 for three years to develop the YCT Communities Project, which will create local learning communities across the country engaged in ongoing study and supported by curricula, community organizing, leadership mentoring, and student and faculty visits.

The new round of Ignition grantees include:

  • 14th Street Y, New York: $20,000 for one year to support Jewish educational engagement events and digital campaigns to help strengthen the neighboring community and give its members opportunities to connect with each other and with Jewish content and learning.
  • Jewish Public Media, Philadelphia, PA: $20,000 for one year to grow participation and expand the reach ofSermonSlam, a in-person and digital platform for personal expression of Torah.
  • Kadimah School of Buffalo, Amherst, NY: $20,000 for one year to support a training in multi-age classroom instruction for faculty within the Upstate New York Jewish Day School Consortium.
  • Mechon Hadar, New York: $20,000 for one year to support a series of weekly, cross-denominational Batei Midrash (study sessions) for future Jewish community leaders.
  • Mishkan Chicago: $20,000 for one year to launch Back To Basics: Inspired Judaism in Small Doses for Busy People, a program to expand the Jewish literacy and practice of Chicago area Jews and those considering conversion with a year-long curriculum covering Jewish rituals, traditions, culture and philosophies.

Since 1991, the Foundation has provided more than $25 million to develop and support Jewish education and community-building projects and programs in North America.

Past grantees with creative and trailblazing approaches to Jewish education across denominations and settings are highlighted on the Foundation’s website, www.covenantfn.org and in Sight Line, the Foundation’s new digital journal.

The Covenant Foundation is currently inviting 2015 Signature and Ignition grant applications. Applicants should visitwww.covenantfn.org/grants for information and guidelines. The deadline for submitting an initial letter of inquiry is Feb. 26, 2015.

The Covenant Foundation is a program of the Crown Family Philanthropies

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