Innovation and Impact

Funding Innovation and Impact in Our Community. Blue banner with green lightbulb.

Federation’s Investment in Innovation & Impact

True to our mission, Federation is uniquely positioned to mobilize our Jewish community in common purpose, intentional innovation, and effective action. Our Innovation & Impact investments began in 2019, with a focus on strengthening Jewish life in Northern VA (NOVA) and in engaging the next generation (NextGen). Today, with two rounds of innovative proposals and strategic funding, we have empowered new initiatives to take root, cultivated new partnerships, and increased collaboration between communal organizations. By building upon current frameworks or designing new avenues to engage our diverse and dynamic community with Jewish life, Federation’s investments in Innovation & Impact are connecting community members with one another and laying the foundation for a vibrant Jewish future.

Leaders from across Greater Washington enjoy a presentation during Federation’s Pitch Night 2020. Woman smiling and clapping in foreground.
Credit: Audrey Rothstein Photography (audreyrothstein.com).
Group of families with young children at program outside on grass with umbrellas and playtime parachute.
Courtesy of Sarah Rabin Spira

Innovation & Impact Funded Programs

Jewish communal life continues to change in ways large and small. At the same time, we have a historic, enduring aspiration to build a vibrant and resilient Jewish community of meaning, purpose, and connection—even in the midst of unprecedented challenges like those of 2020.

Below, explore the 46 programs funded by Federation’s over $2.5 million investment in local innovation and impact.

  • Learn about the organization’s grant and the type of grant—NOVA, NextGen, or both.
  • Review the grant reports for program goals and metrics. The reports below represent Federation’s fiscal year: 2019-2020 (July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020) and 2020-2021 (July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021).
  • Watch the Pitch Night videos to see how these initiatives came to life for the first time.

Explore the Funded Programs

Agudas Achim Congregation

Agudas Achim Young Families Outreach Initiative

Description

This grant will fund a part-time Director of Young Family Engagement. The Director will enhance families’ participation in Jewish home rituals and holiday programming, increase the number of families reached, and build connections between families throughout Alexandria/Arlington.

NOVA/NextGen

Play Agudas Achim Pitch Video

Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

Words to Action

Description

ADL will expand the Words to Action training program to synagogues, youth groups, and Jewish campus organizations in Northern Virginia. The ADL’s Words to Action program is designed to help participants strengthen their Jewish identity, learn skills to confront hate and bias, challenge anti-Semitic myths with facts, and explore the history of anti-Semitism.

NOVA

ADL Pitch Video with Play Button

Avodah

Avodah DC Alumni Leading our Communities in Jewish Social Justice Learning

Description

Avodah will expand their Alumni Justice Ambassador (AJA) program in Northern Virginia communities. The AJA program pairs Avodah fellowship alumni with opportunities to become teachers for communities seeking to engage in meaningful social justice learning, strengthen their Jewish identity, learn skills to confront hate and bias, challenge anti-Semitic myths with facts, and explore the history of anti-Semitism.

NOVA/NextGen

Avodah Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

BBYO NOVA Council

NOVA Expansion

Description

NOVA Council BBYO serves the Northern Virginia community by meeting teens where they are, both geographically and thematically with programming and events. NOVA Council BBYO offers leadership development, Jewish identity building, and community building for Jewish teens in Northern Virginia. With this expansion, BBYO will be able to recruit more members, start new chapters, and provide more meaningful Jewish experiences to teens and families in Northern Virginia.

NOVA

Bender JCC of Greater Washington

JFamily Ambassadors/Wandering J (Combined for 2020-2021)

Description

Based on the success of the first year of the JFamily Ambassador program in Montgomery County, the Bender JCC will continue to provide neighborhood-based JFamily ambassadors to connect new parents to each other and to the community through one-on-one meetings with parents of children ages 0-3. The ambassadors will welcome parents to the Jewish community and connect them to others and to Jewish life.

NextGen

Bender JCC of Greater Washington

JFamily Ambassadors (2019-2020)

Description

Based on the success of the first year of the JFamily Ambassador program in Montgomery County, the Bender JCC will continue to provide neighborhood-based JFamily ambassadors to connect new parents to each other and to the community through one-on-one meetings with parents of children ages 0-3. The ambassadors will welcome parents to the Jewish community and connect them to others and to Jewish life.

NextGen

Bender JCC Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

Bender JCC of Greater Washington

Wandering J (2019-2020)

Description

The Bender JCC will create a mobile space for building Jewish connections and a community environment beyond the Bender JCC campus. Through a branded vehicle, the JCC will expand service to areas with a lower density of PJ Library® subscribers, including Prince Georges’ and Upper Montgomery counties.

NextGen

Bender JCC Wandering J Pitch Video with Play Button

Camp Gan Israel

Camp Gan Israel Expansion

Description

This grant will support the purchase of two modular cabins and allow Gan Israel to serve an additional 30 children every year beginning summer 2021. Camp Gan Israel (CGI) attracts youth from across all denominations and from all communities in Northern Virginia.

NOVA/NextGen

Camp Gan Israel Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

CHABAD LUBAVITCH OF ALEXANDRIA-ARLINGTON

Young Jewish Professionals of Alexandria-Arlington

Description

This grant will enable Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington to support young Jewish professionals to meet peers from the area in a warm, welcoming, and wholesome Jewish atmosphere. They will hold monthly Shabbat dinners, holiday events, adult learning, and educational programs weekly.

NOVA/NextGen

Chabad Alexandria-Arpington Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

CHABAD OF OLNEY

Shabbat on the Block

Description

Through this grant, Chabad of Olney will bring young families together to share a Shabbat experience within the comfort of their own homes to enhance the Jewish identity of young families.

NextGen

Chabad of Olney Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

CHARLES E. SMITH JEWISH DAY SCHOOL

Hand-Off to Jewish Education

Description

This grant will support an eight-week program taught by CESJDS teachers for moms and their new babies that provides information about how to teach Jewish social and ethical values to children. The project will allow these families opportunities to experience the comprehensive, innovative, and meaningful education of Jewish day school.

NextGen

CESJDS Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

Congregation Olam Tikvah

Olam Tikvah Young Families 2021

Description

This funding will enable Olam Tikvah to expand its Young Families program to provide area Jewish families with opportunities to meet and socialize through playdates at Olam Tikvah and Fairfax county city parks. The expansion will allow additional programming for holiday celebrations and workshops for parents.

NOVA/NextGen

Congregation Olam Tikvah Young Families Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

Congregation Olam Tikvah

Young Professionals Hiddur Mitzvah Series

Description

This grant will engage Jewish young professionals in Northern Virginia in social and creative Jewish spaces including hands-on crafting. The series will include cooking class and making Judaica for holidays.

NOVA/NextGen

Congregation Olam Tikvah Young Professionals Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

Edlavitch DCJCC

JFamily Ambassadors

Description

Based on the success of the JFamily Ambassador program in DC, the Edlavitch DCJCC will continue to provide neighborhood-based JFamily Ambassadors to connect new parents to each other and to the community through one-on-one meetings with parents of children ages 0-3. The ambassadors welcome parents to the Jewish community and connect them to others and to Jewish life.

NextGen

EDCJCC JFamily Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

EDLAVITCH DCJCC AND NOVA TRIBE

Jewish Cooking Mastered, EntryPointDC and NOVA Tribe Series

Description

Edlavitch DCJCC will pilot Jewish Cooking Mastered, a joint project of EntryPointDC and NOVA Tribe Series, including a cooking class series and a peer-to-peer holiday meals program in Northern VA and DC. Jewish young professionals will learn from popular local and national chefs and bloggers how to craft traditional dishes with a modern twist (e.g., a farm-to-table Passover seder) and learn the Jewish history and rituals of each dish.

NOVA/NextGen

EDCJCC and NOVA Tribe Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

FAIRFAX ERUV

Fairfax Eruv

Description

This grant helps establish and maintain an eruv to geographically unite contiguous portions of the NOVA Jewish community in Fairfax, thereby providing a necessary unique and foundational element of Jewish communal life. An eruv especially affects the lives of Jews with limited mobility and caretakers of babies and young children.

NOVA

Fairfax Eruv Pitch Video with Play Button

FEDERATION’S YOUNG LEADERSHIP

Israel Leadership Mission

Description

Federation’s Young Leadership program will revive the Israel Leadership Mission (ILM), formerly the Alumni Leadership Mission. ILM will bring together local leaders, encouraging development of relationships with each other and Israel, and will develop a cohort of connected Jewish leaders who care about the larger Jewish community.

NextGen

Federation's YL Pitch Video with Play Button

GatherDC

Jewish 30s Engagement

Description

GatherDC will expand their program to connect individuals in their 30s with their peers and Jewish communal partner organizations. The project also funds dedicated learning and leadership experiences for this population, including comprehensive follow-up and evaluation.

NextGen

GatherDC 30s Engagement Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

GatherDC

NOVA Impact/Relational Engagement

Description

This grant enables GatherDC to support a NOVA Engagement staff person to maintain and form relationships among hundreds of Jewish young adults in Northern Virginia and develop a grassroots network of thousands of young adults as a pipeline to existing programmatic offerings.

NOVA/NextGen

GatherDC NOVA Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

GatherDC

Relational Trainings Innovation

Description

This grant supports GatherDC in holding a training series for local lay-leaders and Jewish institution staff to introduce methodologies to engage peripherally involved Jewish young adults. The series will reach a large group of young adult lay-leaders and intensively serve a select group of professionals serving Jewish institutions.

NextGen

GatherDC Trainings Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

Gesher Jewish Day School

Transportation Expansion

Description

This grant allows Gesher Jewish Day School to provide bus service to cut ride time and improve service. Improved transportation allows more families in Northern Virginia the opportunity to access the school’s secular and Jewish education.

NOVA

Gesher Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

HABERMAN INSTITUTE FOR JEWISH STUDIES

Virginia is for Lovers of Learning

Description

The grant to Haberman Institute for Jewish Studies (formerly the Foundation for Jewish Studies) will support the hiring of a part-time staff person located in Northern Virginia to continue building partnerships in NOVA with Gesher Jewish Day School, Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia, synagogues, and others. The goal is to provide quality learning opportunities to the community including Melton classes, a day of learning, field trip and cultural events, and lectures for during the academic year 2020-2021.

NOVA

Haberman Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

Hadar

Hadar in Washington DC – Engaging Young Adults

Description

Hadar will create a series of classes including holidays through a peer engagement cohort. The classes provide interaction with ancient Jewish texts, in English translation, making Torah study relevant and meaningful to young adults.

NextGen

Hadar Institute Pitch Thumbnail with Play Button 2021 400x224

Hill Havurah

Young Family Engagement on the Hill

Description

The grant will support Hill Havurah’s Young Family Engagement professional in expanding programming with the growing population of young Jewish families on Capitol Hill and connect Jewish and interfaith families to one another through their children, Jewish learning, and ritual.

NextGen

Hill Havurah Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

Hillel at The George Washington University

The Pipeline Project

Description

This grant supports a pilot collaboration among The George Washington University, University of Maryland, and Virginia Tech to build a more interconnected DMV Jewish community and support young Jewish adults to keep Jewish values present as they navigate their personal and professional lives. The project helps young adults plug into relational Jewish spaces beyond their college years through a mentorship model at each campus.

NextGen

Hillel at The George Washington University Pitch Video with Play Button

Honeymoon Israel

Honeymoon Israel Greater Washington FY21

Description

This grant will fund follow-up programming in the local community after young married couples participate in Honeymoon Israel’s 10-day Israel experience. The programming is designed to keep couples connected to one another and help each family find meaningful connections to the broader Greater Washington Jewish community.

NextGen

Honeymoon Israel Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

Israeli American Council Washington DC

IAC Northern Virginia

Description

The grant will support the continuation of L’Chaim events, which increase participants’ involvement and role in the Jewish and Israeli American community. IAC will also work to open an Eitanim group, a teen engagement program. IAC will also continue the Keshet group, a program for kids 2-6 years to connect them and their families through Hebrew, Israeli culture, and Jewish heritage.

NOVA

Israeli American Council Washington DC

L’Chaim

Description

The L’Chaim (Shishi Israeli) program brings together Israeli and Jewish American families into a communal experience that combines Jewish traditions and Israeli culture through a series of celebratory events. Each event is led by a committee of community leaders and volunteers, and includes Shabbat dinners, holiday gatherings, and children’s activities in a multi-generational environment.

NOVA

IAC L'Chaim Pitch Video with Play Button

Israeli American Council Washington DC

G’vanim Limmud

Description

Israeli American Council (IAC) DC will create a Limmud group in Northern Virginia, providing a platform for Israeli and American Jews to connect and strengthen the community. Gvanim Limmud is modeled after the traditional Beit Midrash – a dynamic place of engaging with traditional Jewish text to debate the most significant questions.

NOVA

IAC Gavanim Pitch Video Thumbnail with Play Button

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

PJ Library® in Greater Washington

Description

This grant will ensure that the PJ Library program has the necessary funds to serve the entire Greater Washington community. The program provides families raising Jewish children from 6 months to 8 years old with free Jewish books and music and co-produces events for families across the region.

NextGen

PJ Library Pitch Video with Play Button

Jewish Women International

Financial Fitness for Young Women in the Greater Washington Area

Description

The grant will support a five-part series leading to a well-rounded financial education for the young women’s cohort. Sessions will be led by established Jewish women in the field, to foster an environment of intergenerational learning.

NextGen

Jewish Women International Pitch Video with Play Button

Kesher Israel Congregation

Torah on Tap

Description

Kesher Israel will gather Jewish young adults in the downtown Washington, DC area for pluralistic Torah study and discussion in local bars. Jewish young professionals will find Jewish history, thought, and tradition relevant in a way they never thought possible, connecting them to the Jewish community and leading them to value Judaism in a new and surprising way.

NextGen

Kesher Pitch Video with Play Button

Mesorah

Cafe Night Extra Special

Description

This grant to MesorahDC’s Café Nite Extra program will enable it to continue to expand the breadth and depth of its program among millennials in our community. Café Nite Extra programs provide Jewish enrichment experiences including classes, workshops, “get a ways,” and service projects and new in-home programming.

NextGen

Mesorah Pitch Video with Play Button

Moishe House

Strengthening Jewish Life in Northern Virginia through Moishe House

Description

This funding will support the Moishe House in Fairfax. The residents (3-5 Jewish 20-somethings) will receive extensive training and resources to turn their rented home into a communal focal point through dynamic and relevant programming such as Shabbat dinners, Jewish holiday celebrations, and more.

NOVA/NextGen

Moishe House Pitch Video with Play Button

One Table

NOVA Field Fellow

Description

The NOVA Field Fellow will work to engage the approximately 36,000 Northern Virginia based Jewish young adults in Shabbat practice through OneTable’s program for singles in their 20s and 30s.

NOVA/NextGen

One Table Pitch Video with Play Button

ONETABLE/SIXTH & I

OneTable/Sixth & I Field Fellow

Description

This grant will fund programming by both organizations to foster Jewish community in the broader DMV. OneTable’s program promotes Shabbat practice among those in their 20s and 30s. This funding will allow Sixth & I to nurture and grow their reach among this group, including through co-branded Noshpitality events, and will allow OneTable more successfully focus on participants in their 30s.

NextGen

One Table and Sixth & I Pitch Video with Play Button

Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia

JFamily Ambassadors NOVA

Description

This grant will continue the JFamily Ambassadors Program in Northern Virginia supporting new parents to connect with other young families raising Jewish children. The JFamily Ambassadors foster connections and relationships by providing access to communal experiences and institutions.

NOVA/NextGen

Poze JCCNV Pitch Video with Play Button

SHAARE TORAH

Meeting Young Jewish Families Where They Are

Description

This program will serve young families in areas without Jewish life infrastructure, including Clarskburg and Damascus. The project will allow the synagogue to grow partnerships with JPlay and PJ Library® of Greater Washington to help fill a void in service and provide families in those areas with relationships, community, and programming.

NextGen

Shaare Torah Pitch Video with Play Button

Sixth & I

Sixth & Wee

Description

Sixth & Wee connects young, unaffiliated families with low-cost, content-rich Jewish programming, and to local synagogue clergy, in a welcoming, inclusive environment. The grant supports monthly Shabbat morning services, High Holiday services, and an annual Chanukah party. Through these events, families form bonds with other families, take advantage of meaningful Jewish experiences for parents and children, and get connected to the vast resources available throughout the Jewish community.

NextGen

TEMPLE B’NAI SHALOM

Educational Outreach: Torah Tykes

Description

Temple B’nai Shalom will expand Torah Tykes, a pre-K family program that provides parent-child learning and socialization. This program serves unaffiliated Jews in Northern Virginia and will be offered outside the Temple walls to under-served parts of southern Fairfax County and adjacent areas.

NOVA

TEMPLE B’NAI SHALOM Pitch Video with Play Button

Temple Micah

The Micah Storefront Project

Description

The Micah Storefront Project provides communal Jewish experiences in spaces of the everyday, including in coffee shops, on rooftops, and around open tables. The project incorporates prayer, study, conversation, and action, bringing people together for relevant, highly accessible Jewish learning.

NextGen

Temple Micah Pitch Video with Play Button

TEMPLE RODEF SHALOM

Mother’s Circle: New and Improved

Description

Temple Rodef Shalom will expand its interfaith Mother’s Circle to include four additional circles in communities of Northern Virginia, as well as to refresh the Mother’s Circle curriculum. Mother’s Circle programs include a licensed clinical social worker to facilitate conversations among non-Jewish participants who are dealing with complex issues and concerns around raising Jewish children.

NOVA/NextGen

Temple Rodef Shalom Pitch Video with Play Button

TEMPLE RODEF SHALOM

Project Kibbitz (Formerly NOVA Co-Working Space)

Description

This grant will seek funding for a programmatic space in Northern Virginia empowering Next Gen Jews to curate experiences, build community, and define their Jewish sense of self. The space will bring together the best of traditional and non-traditional entities to empower Next Gen Jews to embody living Judaism through the seamless integration of work and social life.

NOVA/NextGen

THE DEN COLLECTIVE

Project Growth and Sustainability Positioning

Description

the Den is a collective of people creating a Judaism that is relevant, accessible, and deeply rooted in tradition throughout the greater DC area. Through this project, Rabbi Aderet Drucker and Rabbi Rami Schwartzer seek to build spaces of meaning that invite people to deepen their connection to Judaism, feel part of a community, and enrich their lives. This funding will provide support for the Den to increase its work in Northern Virginia. and to develop a strategic communication plan and infrastructure for long-term sustainability.

NOVA/NextGen

The Den Collective Growth Pitch Video with Play Button

THE DEN COLLECTIVE

The Mindfulness Initiative

Description

This grant will enable the Den’s Rabbis to lead the Next Gen community in a practice of mind, body, and spirit, which helps people discover themselves, to be seen by others, and to exercise their heart as much as they exercise their mind. The initiative includes intimate learning cohorts that join study and soul-exploration; opportunities to explore prayer through collective singing; and meditation that coalesces with Jewish heritage, ancestral, or chosen.

NOVA/NextGen

the Den Collective Mindfulness Pitch Video with Play Button

Tzedek DC

Next Gen Lawyers Division: A Collaboration between Tzedek DC & The Network

Description

Next Gen Lawyers Division is a collaboration between the Network and Tzedek DC, a Jewish community-organized nonprofit providing support of local families of all faiths and backgrounds with lower incomes. The grant supports opportunities to engage in pro bono work through Jewish lens and framework at Tzedek DC and allied organizations serving vulnerable families. The program also supports mentorship of Next Gen lawyers by other lawyers in the Greater Washington Jewish community.

NextGen

Tzedek DC Pitch Video with Play Button