Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles Awards $2.3 Million in Cutting Edge Grants to Launch Twelve Innovative Programs
More than $15 Million Awarded to 84 Transformative Initiatives Since 2006
August 16, 2016
LOS ANGELES (Aug. 16, 2016)-The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) today announced $2.3 million in grants to twelve new Jewish initiatives focused on innovation. This year's Cutting Edge Grants recipients include programs that range from engaging Jewish millennials through the performing arts, to creating connectivity in an emerging alternative downtown community, to a platform ensuring continuity in senior health care that will improve overall well-being.
Established by The Foundation in 2006, the Cutting Edge Grants are multi-year grants of up to $250,000 awarded to creative thinkers, social entrepreneurs, and innovative organizations to develop and implement transformative programs of high visibility and impact in the Los Angeles Jewish community. Successful applicants must demonstrate the capacity and leadership to implement their initiative, that the program is unique and sustainable, and that it offers long-term benefits to Jewish Los Angeles.
This year's awards reflect a 24 percent increase from the $1.85 million awarded last year, and are 53 percent higher than the $1.5 million granted two years ago, according to The Foundation. Foundation President and CEO Marvin I. Schotland stated: "The 2016 Cutting Edge Grant recipients-the 11th annual class awarded by The Foundation-exemplify creative, unique problem-solving necessary for a vibrant, engaged and caring Jewish Los Angeles. Since the inception of the Cutting Edge Grants, we have awarded over $15 million to 84 innovative programs designed to reimagine and shape our local Jewish future. We are duly proud that the vast majority of these prior initiatives have taken root, continue to have enduring impact, and positively influence the lives of tens of thousands in our community."
Recipients of 2016 Cutting Edge Grants include:
- The Aleph Institute for Project Tikvah
- Builders of Jewish Education (BJE) for Project EnAble
- Honeymoon Israel Foundation for Honeymoon Israel Los Angeles
- Israeli-American Council for IAC Center Engage
- Jerusalem U for Step Up for Israel
- The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles for AcrossGen
- Jewish Women's Theatre for The Braid 2.0 - PlayC: A Place to Cultivate Jewish Voices
- Los Angeles Jewish Home for Connections to Care: Interoperability Platform (C2C-IP)
- Moving Traditions for Moving Traditions' B'nai Mitzvah Program
- Pico Union Project for The Sanctuary@Pico-Union
- Reboot in partnership with IKAR for Death over Dinner: Jewish Edition
- Union for Reform Judaism for 6 Points Sports Academy California
Engaging Jewish Millennials through the Performing Arts:
Jewish Women's Theatre for The Braid 2.0 - PlayC: A Place to Cultivate Jewish Voices
Jewish Women's Theatre (JWT) will receive a two-year, $150,000 grant to launch an artistic platform that will connect millennials in their 20s and 30s with their Judaism through the performing arts. They will write, produce, direct and perform original works of their generation for their generation using a Jewish lens.
The program was piloted in 2014 in partnership with Moishe House and Reboot. In the scale-up, JWT will create an arts council of Jewish millennials to develop and produce shows. Participants will be mentored by JWT staff and attend quarterly speaker series and networking programs.
JWT Board Chair Janis Nelson stated: "To be acknowledged and supported by the best of our community as being deserving of this gift is a great and humbling honor. We are so excited to bolster and better serve our burgeoning community hub and professional home for Next Gen writers, actors, directors, producers, stage technicians and theatre lovers - with resources, structure, mentorship, hands-on experiential learning, and leadership opportunities."
Creating Connectivity in an Emerging Alternative Downtown Community:
Pico Union Project for The Sanctuary@Pico-Union
A grant of $200,000 over three years will go to The Sanctuary@Pico Union, a vibrant alternative Jewish community in downtown Los Angeles that offers programs related to spiritual discovery, self-exploration, Jewish arts and social justice for hundreds of Jews across Los Angeles. It will use the first year of the grant period to hire staff, build infrastructure, create partnerships, develop best practices in marketing, test programs and evaluate participants' enhanced connections to Judaism resulting from program participation.
Dr. Zach Lasker, the center's Executive Director, says: "The Pico Union Project was founded in 2013 as a way to hold space for spiritual exploration and artistic expression for our uniquely diverse Los Angeles community. The grant from The Foundation provides a critical financial boost and opens up new channels of communication and collaboration as we get to know our fellow grantees and Foundation leadership."
Ensuring Continuity in Senior Health Care:
Los Angeles Jewish Home for Connections to Care: Interoperability Platform (C2C-IP)
Through a two-year, $250,000 grant, the Los Angeles Jewish Home will create a central hub to manage patients' information from multiple databases intended to improve the health and well-being of Jewish seniors and to provide individualized continuity of care as they go through the health care system-both inside and outside the Jewish Home. The care will be coordinated in an unprecedented fashion both in terms of the personnel structure who oversee it and the IT framework that supports it.
Molly Forrest, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Jewish Home says: "We are grateful to The Foundation for supporting our efforts to care for more frail seniors in our community. The awarding of the Cutting Edge Grant will enable us to develop the tools necessary to provide coordinated, comprehensive, quality care for vulnerable and at-risk seniors."
About the other 2016 Cutting Edge Grant recipients:
The Aleph Institute for Project Tikvah
Project Tikvah, an initiative of The Aleph Institute, will receive $250,000 over three years to provide intervention, support services and alternative sentencing opportunities to hundreds of Jewish youth and young adults ages 16-32 who are at risk of being incarcerated, so that they achieve effective rehabilitation for drug abuse and care for mental health conditions. The program includes facilitating legal assistance; providing emergency living expenses; obtaining insurance to cover the costs of rehab and treatments; connecting clients with a community and rabbi, and more. It expects that 75 percent of clients will remain on a healthy path.
Builders of Jewish Education (BJE) for Project EnAble
Awarded a four-year, $200,000 grant, Builders of Jewish Education's Project EnAble focuses on reduced-cost clinical support for students with mild to moderate learning needs in Jewish elementary schools. From a centralized resource it will allow for flexible coordination of those services and professional development workshops for school faculty. It expects to serve 12 schools and hundreds of students during the grant period.
Honeymoon Israel Foundation for Honeymoon Israel Los Angeles
A three-year, $200,000 grant to Honeymoon Israel Los Angeles will engage young couples, primarily interfaith, LGBTQ, or those on the outskirts of Jewish life through programming designed to foster a positive connection to Jewish faith and a desire to raise a Jewish family. Sixty couples least engaged with Jewish life will be selected to attend one of three trips to Israel each year. Upon return, participating couples, along with those who were unable to participate, will be invited to social events, educational programming and Shabbat dinners to stimulate continued engagement in Jewish life.
Israeli-American Council for IAC Center Engage
Awarded a grant of $200,000 over three years, IAC Center Engage will implement grassroots programming at IAC's new Israeli-American Community Center in Woodland Hills. The engagement of partner organizations, leaders and others in the community will directly impact hundreds of community members each year who will in turn impact hundreds more of their peers through the activities and events that they plan. IAC expects that its grassroots approach and peer-based model will increase participants' investment in the programs leading to deeper engagement in the Jewish community.
Jerusalem U for Step Up for Israel
With a three-year, $200,000 grant, Step Up for Israel will replicate and scale-up a multi-faceted film-based education program that will engage thousands of high-school and college students, teachers and the entire community in developing stronger connections to Israel and a better understanding of its history, culture and political situation.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles for AcrossGen
The Jewish Federation's AcrossGen program will receive a $200,000 grant over three years to connect thousands of young adults, young families, Baby Boomers, and senior citizens living in the Venice/Santa Monica area through intergenerational programming designed to connect members across generations to their Jewish identity. Programming to be developed will address three identified needs: spirituality, creativity and play.
Moving Traditions for Moving Traditions' B'nai Mitzvah Program
Moving Traditions will receive $200,000 over three years to pilot the Moving Traditions' B'nai Mitzvah Program. The program-for hundreds of 6th and 7th graders-complements b'nai mitzvah preparation, exploring what it means to come of age as a Jewish adult and leading ultimately to a desire by participants for continued Jewish education in their high school years. Modeled after existing programs, it will design a curriculum and train rabbis, cantors and educators at Jewish institutions throughout Los Angeles.
Reboot in partnership with IKAR for Death over Dinner: Jewish Edition
Reboot in partnership with IKAR will receive a $150,000 grant over two years for Death Over Dinner: Jewish Edition. This will engage thousands of Jews, primarily in their 20s through 40s, in dinner table conversation about death, relationships and end-of-life questions. It will be modeled after deathoverdinner.org, with the focus centered upon Jewish perspectives on death.
Union for Reform Judaism for 6 Points Sports Academy California
6 Points Academy California will receive $100,000 over two years to establish the first Jewish overnight sports camp in Southern California that will integrate high caliber sports programming with a transformative Reform Jewish camping experience for hundreds of youths ages 10-17. Modeled on a successful program established on the East Coast in 2010, the local iteration will operate at Occidental College in Eagle Rock.
About The Foundation
Established in 1954, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles manages charitable assets of more than $1 billion (as of 12/31/15) entrusted to it by over 1,200 families and ranks among the 10 largest Los Angeles foundations. The Foundation partners with donors to shape meaningful philanthropic strategies, magnify the impact of giving, and build enduring charitable legacies. In 2015, The Foundation and its donors distributed $96 million in grants to more than a thousand nonprofit organizations with programs that span the range of philanthropic giving. Over the past 25 years, The Foundation has distributed more than $1 billion in grants to thousands of nonprofits across a diverse spectrum. www.jewishfoundationla.org