Innovation and Impact

Federation has the unique ability to mobilize the many parts of our community towards comprehensive change and collective impact. And during these unprecedented times, connecting with purpose and meeting the unique needs of our Jewish community have never been more important.

Through a comprehensive Request for Proposal (RFP) and Task Force process, initially launched in 2019 and expanded for 2020, Federation called on organizations across Greater Washington to dream big and think strategically about the impact they can make in strengthening Jewish life and furthering the community. We are excited to see new initiatives take root, to cultivate new partnerships, and to increase collaboration between our communal organizations in alignment with Federation.

As we continue to focus on our strategic priority areas of Engaging the Next Generation and Strengthening Jewish Life in Northern Virginia, we are grateful for the generosity of the donors who have contributed more than $1 million to dedicate to this important work in 2019 and for the coming year. In partnership with our Task Forces of volunteer leaders for Next Gen Engagement and Strengthening Jewish Life in Northern Virginia, our second Innovation & Impact Request for Proposals was released in December 2019.

The Results
In February 2020, Federation received 71 proposals from 56 unique organizations. During our second annual Pitch Night, these organizations brought their proposals to life for an engaged and eager stakeholder audience. Twenty-two of them showcased their proposals for renewed funding in our exhibition hall, and 49 pitched brand-new proposals. Each proposal focused on increasing impact and generating innovation for Jewish Greater Washington. They came from established institutions—local and national— including synagogues, new startups, and everything in between. Represented fields included social justice, Jewish learning, experiential programming, and more.

In June 2020, Federation’s Strategic Planning & Allocations Committee and the United Jewish Endowment Fund Grants Committee made funding recommendations to support 33 proposals (14 new and 19 renewals), which was approved by Federation’s Board of Directors on June 10.

Explore the 2020 new and renewed funded programs below, including videos from Pitch Night 2019 and 2020.

Explore the 2020 (FY21) New and Renewed Funded Programs

Agudas Achim Congregation

Agudas Achim Young Families Outreach Initiative • Impact Grant

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 Expansion • Impact Grant

NOVA Council BBYO offers leadership development, Jewish identity building, and community building for Jewish teens in Northern Virginia. With this expansion, BBYO will continue to recruit members, start new chapters, and provide additional meaningful Jewish experiences to teens and families in Northern Virginia.

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Bender JCC of Greater Washington

JFamily Ambassadors/Wandering J • Impact Grant

Based on the success 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, to one another, and to Jewish life.

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Bender JCC of Greater Washington

Camp Gan Israel

Camp Gan Israel Expansion • Impact Grant

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.

Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington

Young Jewish Professionals of Alexandria-Arlington • Impact Grant

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.

Chabad of Olney

Shabbat on the Block • Innovation Grant

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.

Congregation Olam Tikvah

Young Professionals Hiddur Mitzvah Series • Innovation Grant

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.

Congregation Olam Tikvah

Olam Tikvah Young Families • Impact Grant

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.

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Congregation Olam Tikvah

The Den Collective

The Mindfulness Initiative • Innovation Grant

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.

Edlavitch DCJCC

JFamily Ambassadors • Impact Grant

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.

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Fairfax Eruv • Innovation Grant

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.


30s Impact • Impact Grant

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.

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NOVA Impact/Relational Engagement • Innovation Grant

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.

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Trainings Innovation • Innovation Grant

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.

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Gesher Jewish Day School

Transportation Expansion in Northern VA • Impact Grant

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.

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Hillel at The George Washington University
(In partnership with the Hillels of University of Maryland and Virginia Tech)

DMV Hillel Pipeline Project • Innovation Grant

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.

DMV Hillels

Haberman Institute for Jewish Studies

Virginia is for Lovers of Learning • Impact Grant

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.


Hadar in Washington DC – Engaging Young Adults • Impact Grant

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.

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Hill Havurah

Young Family Engagement on the Hill • Impact Grant

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.

Honeymoon Israel

Honeymoon Israel, Greater Washington DC • Impact Grant

This grant will fund programming in our local community following participation by area young married couples in a 10-day Israel experience. The programming is designed to both keep couples connected to one another and to help each family find meaningful connections to the broader Washington Jewish community.

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Israeli American Council DC

IAC Northern Virginia • Impact Grant

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.

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The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

PJ Library® in Greater Washington • Impact Grant

Through this funding, the PJ Library® program has the necessary funds to serve the entire community. The program provides families raising Jewish children from 6 months to 8 years old with free Jewish books and music, and coproduces events for families across the region.

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Jewish Women International

Financial Fitness for Young Women in the Greater Washington Area • Impact Grant

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.

Kesher Israel Congregation

Torah on Tap • Innovation Grant

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.


Café Nite Extra • Impact Grant

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.

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Moishe House

Sustaining Jewish Life in Fairfax Through Moishe House • Impact Grant

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.

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NOVA Field Fellow • Innovation Grant

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.

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Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia

JFamily Ambassadors—NOVA • Impact Grant

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.

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Shaare Torah

Meeting Young Jewish Families Where They Are • Impact Grant

This grant will deepen involvement of young families in areas without Jewish life infrastructure, including Clarksburg and Damascus. The project will allow the synagogue to expand its partnerships with JPlay and PJ Library of Greater Washington to help fill a void in service and to provide families in those areas with relationships, community, and programming.

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Sixth & I

Sixth & Wee • Innovation Grant

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.

Temple Micah

The Micah Storefront Project • Innovation Grant

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.

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Temple Rodef Shalom

Project Kibbitz • Innovation Grant

The grant provides ongoing start-up funding for a programmatic co-working 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.

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Tzedek DC

Next Gen Lawyers Division • Innovation Grant

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.