The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) today announced that it has awarded $3.7 million in grants to 45 local organizations, including 22 Jewish nonprofits and 23 synagogues, as they recover from the pandemic. This represents both the largest amount and the greatest number of recipients ever awarded by The Foundation in a single grants cycle.
Titled Reimagine Grants, the funding is in keeping with The Foundation’s comprehensive grants strategy developed in response to COVID-19. For the second consecutive year, the institution has re-invented its annual grants programs to respond to pandemic-related needs of Los Angeles’ Jewish institutions. These latest awards – combined with $8.3 million in pandemic-related grants already awarded – bring total COVID-19 response and relief grantmaking to approximately $12 million dispensed to nearly 100 organizations since March 2020.
The Foundation developed the Reimagine Grants following extensive consultation with nonprofit professionals and fellow funders locally and nationally to identify issues that include: new ways to meet evolving constituent needs; staff mental fatigue resulting from intensified job demands; professional development for managing through crises; and how to collaborate more effectively between organizations.
The grants to the 22 nonprofits address a wide variety of issues including: hybrid programs for children, youth and young adults, as well as people with disabilities; organizational and staff professional development; community health and wellness; diversity, equity and inclusion; and Jewish, Israel and Holocaust education. The funding to 23 synagogues – spanning denominations and spread geographically from Highland Park in the east to Santa Monica in the west – will support initiatives ranging from staff development to mental health and well-being.
Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin I. Schotland stated: “Our newly created Reimagine Grants are a robust response to the pandemic and support Los Angeles-area Jewish communal institutions as they adapt and transition into a new reality. In response to the pandemic, we swiftly executed a full pivot of Foundation institutional funding initiatives to address emerging and fast-changing needs. These newest grants, together with our earlier COVID-19 Response Grants, reflect a 360-degree perspective to boost programs and initiatives doing critical work in our Jewish and general communities.”
Schotland continued: “The Foundation is proud to be offering significant support for the professional development and well-being of synagogue leadership and staff. Our rationale is that by taking care of the people who lead synagogues, we can by extension positively affect the well-being of the entire membership and organization as a whole, potentially reaching thousands of people.”
“The potential impact of these grants is significant,” added Schotland. “This funding for mental health and well-being is an entirely new space for The Foundation. Years from now we may look back and say these initiatives were among the most innovative, forward-looking grants The Foundation ever made.”