Seeking Big Ideas: How Would You Enrich Our Local Jewish Community?
In 2019, our inaugural innovation and impact grant cycle resulted in the investment of more than $1 million in some of the most innovative and impactful offerings ever implemented in Jewish Greater Washington. Our latest grant cycle has now begun, and Federation is currently seeking proposals for new initiatives (innovation) and/or expansion initiatives (impact) – including renewals from our 2019 inaugural grant cycle – to engage the next generation in Jewish life (post college graduation, young couples, and families with young children) and strengthen Jewish life in Northern Virginia. We welcome multiple proposals, and applications from individuals or collaborations between individuals and colleagues.
Federation’s new Strategic Plan articulates a fresh vision for our community and an updated mission for our work. Focusing on identifying issues that need attention and mobilizing our community towards effective action, Federation raised nearly $1 million to devote to our strategic priority areas: Engaging the Next Generation, Strengthening Jewish Life in Northern Virginia, and Adult Learning.
Looking to leverage the innovative organizations and individuals working within these arenas, we launched Task Forces for Next Gen Engagement and Strengthening Jewish Life in Northern Virginia, and put out a Request for Proposals. We wanted to know: what opportunities already exist? What can we do to expand existing programming to new populations or regions? What innovative ideas are there to bring about significant change on these issues? What could we learn that would enable long-term change and success?
The answers came swiftly and in unprecedented numbers from a community eager for impact and innovation. They came from established institutions, synagogues, new startups, and everything in between – including those in the fields of social justice, Jewish learning, experiential programming, and more. They came from local organizations as well as national entities who have never worked in our community before.
Federation received 68 striking and inspiring proposals from 49 unique organizations. Each proposal focused on increasing impact and generating innovation for Jewish Greater Washington. During our first-ever Pitch Night, 47 organizations brought their proposals to life for an engaged and eager audience.
On May 14, Federation’s Board of Directors approved more than $1 million in funding for 31 proposals, infusing our community with some of the most innovative and impactful programming, initiatives, and offerings ever implemented in Jewish Greater Washington.
Words to Action • Impact Grant
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.
Avodah DC Alumni Leading our Communities in Jewish Social Justice Learning • Impact Grant
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 Expansion • Impact Grant
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.
j.family Ambassadors • Impact Grant
Based on the success of the first year of the j.family Ambassador program in Montgomery County, the Bender JCC will continue to provide neighborhood-based j.family 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.
Wandering J • Impact Grant
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.
Hand-Off to Jewish Education • Innovation Grant
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.
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 and city parks. The expansion will allow additional programming for holiday celebrations and workshops for parents.
Project Growth and Sustainability Positioning • Impact Grant
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.
j.family Ambassadors • Impact Grant
Based on the success of the first year of the j.family Ambassador program in DC, the Edlavitch DCJCC will continue to provide neighborhood based j.family 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.
Jewish Cooking Mastered, EntryPointDC and NOVA Tribe Series • Innovation Grant
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.
30s Engagement • Impact Grant
GatherDC will expand their 30s Engagement Impact 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.
NOVA Engagement Impact • Innovation Grant
GatherDC will hire a NOVA engagement staff person to help 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.
Trainings Innovation • Innovation Grant
A training series for local lay-leaders and Jewish institution staff about how to engage peripherally-involved Jewish young adults. The series will provide service to a large group of young adult lay-leaders and intensively serve a select group of professionals serving Jewish institutions.
Transportation Expansion in Northern VA • Impact Grant
Gesher will expand their bus service from 4 to 5 routes in order to cut ride time and improve service. With improved transportation, Gesher will be able to offer more families in Northern Virginia the opportunity to benefit from the school’s secular and Jewish education.
Engaging Young Adults • Impact Grant
Hadar will create two interactive holiday class series—3 parts each—about Passover and the High Holidays. This engaging series will be taught by Hadar faculty using ancient Jewish texts made relevant and meaningful to young adults.
Hill Havurah New Parents’ Gathering • Impact Grant
This grant will fund a monthly gathering of Jewish and interfaith individuals and couples with their new babies. Through the program, participants will receive education around Jewish ritual at home, provide mutual support, and build connections with one another.
Honeymoon Israel • Impact Grant
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.
Gvanim Limmud • Impact Grant
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.
L’Chaim • Impact Grant
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.
j.family Ambassador Program • Impact Grant
The JCC or Northern Virginia will continue j. family Ambassadors program in Northern Virginia to support new parents to connect with other young families raising Jewish children. The j. family ambassadors foster connections and relationships by providing access to communal experiences and institutions.
Café Nite Extra • Impact Grant
Mesorah’s Café Nite program will expand the organization’s breadth and depth among millennials in the community. Café Nite programs provide Jewish enrichment experiences including classes, workshops, “getaways,” and service projects.
Sustaining Jewish Life in Fairfax • Impact Grant
This funding will allow for the development of a second Moishe House in Northern Virginia. The residents (3 to 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.
OneTable/Sixth & I Field Fellow • Innovation Grant
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.
NOVA Field Fellow • Innovation Grant
This grant will support a new NOVA Field Fellow who will work to engage the approximately 36,000 Northern Virginia-based Jewish young adults. OneTable’s program encourages singles in their 20s and 30s to engage in Shabbat practice.
Meeting Young Jewish Families Where They Are • Impact Grant
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.
Temple B’nai Shalom
TBS Educational Outreach Program: Torah Tykes & LIFE on the Road
TBS will expand Torah Tykes, a pre-K family program that provides parent-child learning and socialization, and Learning is for Everyone (LIFE), an adult education program. Both programs serve unaffiliated Jews in Northern Virginia and will be offered outside the temple walls to under-served parts of southern Fairfax County and adjacent areas.
The 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.
Mother’s Circle: New and Improved • Impact Grant
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 Co-Working Space • Innovation Grant
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.
Israel Leadership Mission • Impact Grant
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.
PJ Library • Impact Grant
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.