Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles Awards $1.2 Million in Israel Grants

LOS ANGELES —The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) today announced that it has awarded $1.2 million to six organizations through its annual Israel Grants program focused on strengthening the country’s Jewish identity and advancing economic development and self-sufficiency, including programs supporting at-risk youth.

Since 2010, The Foundation has distributed grants in Israel totaling over $10 million to more than 60 organizations. The Foundation, the largest manager of charitable assets and planned giving solutions for Los Angeles Jewish philanthropists, awards its Israel Grants to organizations that possess a strong track record of creating meaningful change, have achievable outcomes, affect a significant number of people or regions, and offer opportunities for partnerships with other funders.

Foundation President & Chief Executive Officer Marvin I. Schotland stated: “Supporting pluralistic Jewish identity and economic development in Israel is critically important. Our Israel Grants Committee looks carefully at every applicant and selects the organizations that will hopefully have the biggest impact. The organizations and programs awarded grants are performing vital work that strengthens the social service, religious and economic underpinnings of the country. We’re proud to support them, and we look forward to these initiatives delivering meaningful change through our Israel Grants.”

2018 Israel Grant recipients include:

Jewish Identity

Economic Development/Self-Sufficiency

Ethiopian National Project for School Performance and Community Empowerment (SPACE)

A three-year, $200,000 grant will support an after-school program that provides Jewish identity enrichment, academic and emotional support, and personal development opportunities for Ethiopian-Israeli students in middle school and high school.

“So many Ethiopian-Israeli youth struggle with their identity,” explained Roni Akele, director-general of the Ethiopian National Project. “The Foundation’s support of ENP’s School Performance and Community Empowerment Program (SPACE) provides critical support to these immigrants, their children, and their peers, helping them explore their Jewish and Ethiopian heritage, strengthening their connection with their parents and community, and creating a broader understanding of the beauty of Ethiopian Jewry. The Foundation’s support is helping engender a remarkable, lasting transformation for all those reached by this program.”

Meitarim Network for Inclusive Jewish Education for Strengthening Jewish Identity in Mixed Religious-Secular Schools

A three-year grant of $240,000 will fund a program that offers curricula to students in mixed religious and secular schools throughout Israel, and provides teachers with specialized training in pluralistic education. Meitarim’s model allows students from diverse religious, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds to learn together about religious and secular topics. This approach creates pluralistic educational environments based on tolerance, humanism, and mutual respect, including training and support for teachers and administrators.

Panim: the Israeli-Judaism Network for HaMovilim: Leadership Development Program

Through a grant of $190,000 over three years, Panim will provide Beit Midrash (house of learning) facilitators with professional-development opportunities that focus on Jewish values, democracy, and current social challenges, so they can engage their communities more effectively in Jewish learning. Panim brings together 60 member-organizations throughout Israel that run educational programs and community activities, to promote both traditional and modern Israeli values including democracy, Zionism, equality, and humanism.

Amutat Kaima for Employment as Education

A grant award of $230,000 over three years will enable Amutat Kaima to provide hands-on agricultural and job training for hundreds of at-risk youth (ages 15 to 18). The organization works to improve the lives of at-risk youth who have dropped out of high school or are on the cusp of doing so, through a multifaceted approach including organic farming, leadership development, vocational education and community activities.

Yoni Yefet Reich, co-founder and CEO of Amutat Kaima, stated: “This grant is a game-changer for our alternative education network for Israeli youth who have dropped out of school. The generous support of the Jewish Community Foundation will see us into the next decade as we provide young people with the personal skills and vocational literacy needed to enter adulthood.”

Crossroads for Create Your Future Employment Center

Crossroads will use a three-year, $140,000 grant to provide at-risk first and second-generation immigrant teens and young adults (ages 15 to 22) from the United States, Canada and Europe with job training and therapeutic services to help them prepare for the workforce. Crossroads provides crisis-intervention and prevention programs for youth who are struggling with social, emotional, and/or educational difficulties.

JobKatif for Achotenu (Our Sisters)

A $200,000 three-year grant will help train Ethiopian-Israeli men and women in an academic nursing program, empowering them to break the cycle of poverty and establish a stable financial future. Since its founding in 2006, JobKatif has successfully assisted 2,800 unemployed people achieve financial stability.

About The Jewish Community Foundation

Established in 1954, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles manages charitable assets of $1.25 billion entrusted to it by over 1,300 families and ranks among the 10 largest Los Angeles foundations. It partners with donors to shape meaningful philanthropic strategies, magnify the impact of their giving, and build enduring charitable legacies. In 2017, The Foundation and its donors distributed $100 million in grants to more than 2,600 nonprofits with programs that span the range of philanthropic giving. Over the past 25 years, it has distributed more than $1 billion in grants to thousands of nonprofits across a diverse spectrum. www.jewishfoundationla.org