Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles Awards $2.5 Million in Cutting Edge Grants 2.0

The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) today announced that it awarded $2.5 million in Cutting Edge Grants 2.0 (CEG 2.0) – a record amount for this institutional grant initiative – to 10 organizations focused on seeding and growing innovative programs in the Los Angeles Jewish community.

The programs receiving funding will reach a broad range of ages and stages of life and address a wide array of issue areas including antisemitism, Israel and Holocaust education, mental health, Jewish teen engagement, and reaching diverse communities as well as vulnerable populations.

Revamped earlier this year to place greater emphasis on strength of leadership, collaboration, and pressing needs in the community, CEG 2.0 builds upon its namesake predecessor which, since its creation in 2006, has awarded $21 million in funding to support more than 100 innovative Jewish causes and programs across Los Angeles. The multi-year awards of up to $300,000 are directed to innovative local and national organizations of all sizes to foster creative programming that builds a vibrant and inclusive Jewish Los Angeles, equipped to address emerging issues and opportunities for the future. The grants provide recipients with not only funding but access to technical assistance and professional development.

Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin I. Schotland stated: “Our team conducted rigorous research, including extensive conversations with nonprofit leaders and key stakeholders, that underscored these pressing needs – to lend support in addressing the mental health crisis, combat antisemitism, support vulnerable populations, and reach out to the myriad of constituents who comprise a diverse Jewish L.A. The grants reflect The Foundation’s commitment to identifying both needs and gaps in our community and partnering with forward-thinking leaders and organizations.”

Schotland continued: “Findings in the Jewish Federation’s recently released study of Jewish Los Angeles, which was proudly supported by The Foundation, further confirm these pressing issues identified by our staff and being addressed by our grant recipients. These 10 organizations are true social innovators, and we are proud to support their vital work in solving the community’s ever-evolving needs.”

Rachael Petru, director of philanthropic partnerships at Hillel of UCLA, stated: “With incidents of campus antisemitism rising sharply, this Cutting Edge Grant 2.0 award could not be timelier. The grant will allow us to bring to life a new two-day, off-campus Israel Summit, which will convene 200-plus college students throughout L.A. and the Western U.S. who share in the goal of countering campus antisemitism and promoting Jewish expression. At the Summit, they will hear from national experts, learn, share best practices, and collectively design strategies to hold campus players accountable and affirm Jewish identity on campus.”

The 2022 Cutting Edge Grants 2.0 recipients include:

About the Grant Recipients

To assist in scaling up the LA Regional Programming Hub that will engage high school students in a nine-month wellness fellowship focused on improving mental health among peers, and equip local Jewish professionals and parents of teens with skills to recognize and address the mental health needs of teens. This program aims to facilitate positive change at the individual and systemic-level around mental health in the LA Jewish community.

Foundation for Jewish Camp
To support the DEI Coaching Project, which will provide diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training and coaching to Los Angeles area overnight and day camps. The program aims to engage a more diverse population in the Jewish camp experience and ensure that camps are seen as welcoming and diverse Jewish spaces.

Hillel at UCLA in collaboration with USC Hillel and Hillel 818
To help launch LA Campuses United Against Antisemitism, a multi-campus Hillel coalition (Hillel at UCLA, USC Hillel and Hillel 818) that will directly engage student leaders and thousands more in fighting antisemitism on college campuses through an annual West Coast Region Summit and on campus activities. The program aims to develop a united effort for combatting antisemitism at these college campuses in Los Angeles.

Holocaust Museum Los Angeles
To support developing an Augmented Reality App featuring virtual gallery-like areas with 360-degree views of museum objects, interactive features for further exploration, and a virtual docent to narrate the visit. By bringing the museum’s archives to life and connecting Holocaust history to current equity and racial justice issues, the app aims to make Holocaust education accessible and engaging to students and inspire viewers to take a stand against hate.

Jews of Color Initiative
To support the launch of the LA Incubator, a 12-month cohort-based leadership development program designed to support the growth of Jews of color-led and Jews of color-serving programs in LA. The program seeks to create a more multiracial, multiethnic, and inclusive LA Jewish life and innovate how the Jewish communal landscape supports the leadership growth and professional development of Jews of color.

OpenDor Media
To support the expansion and enhancement of the Collaborative School Program, a professional learning community that convenes LA educators with peers locally and globally and provides a forum for colleagues to share tools, troubleshoot challenges, and offer encouragement to strengthen their work in Jewish and Israel education. The program aims to develop a diverse network of local Israel educators trained in effective Jewish and Israel teaching practices.

Our Big Kitchen LA
To help scale the Community Youth Initiative which enables thousands of Jewish middle school, high school, and vulnerable youth to volunteer in an industrial kosher kitchen that provides meals for Angelenos experiencing food insecurity. The program seeks to build community, reduce feelings of isolation, and connect youth with their Jewish identity through meaningful and purposeful group volunteer opportunities.

Sacred Spaces
To support the launch of the Spark Program which provides widespread community education and awareness programming focused on abuse prevention. Spark will partner with LA Jewish institutions to provide resources and coaching to address concerns and implement measures to prevent abuse. The program aims to create safer, healthier, and well-prepared Jewish institutions with fewer incidents of abuse.

Tzedek America
To assist in expanding Mitzvah Project Central, a program that will connect hundreds of b’nai mitzvah students with meaningful volunteer service experiences that fulfill their mitzvah project requirements while deepening connections to their Torah portions and Jewish identities. The program seeks to set students on a course of lifelong Jewish learning and engagement guided by social justice.

Valley Beth Shalom in collaboration with Temple Ramat Zion and Temple Judea
To support the launch of Sayva: A New Approach to Positive Aging across three synagogues (VBS, Temple Ramat Zion and Temple Judea) that will provide educational, recreational, community-building and wellness programming to hundreds of Jewish older adults. The program aims to provide opportunities for older adults to feel connected, appreciated, and useful in their community, therefore enabling them to lead more fulfilling lives in older age.

About the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles
Established in 1954, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles manages charitable assets of more than $1.5 billion (as of 12/31/21) entrusted to it by 1,400 families. The Foundation partners with donors to shape meaningful philanthropic strategies, magnify the impact of giving, and build enduring charitable legacies. In 2021, The Foundation and its donors distributed $123 million to more than 2,000 nonprofits that span the range of philanthropic giving. Over the past ten years, it has distributed nearly $1 billion to thousands of nonprofits across a diverse spectrum.