NEXUS 2021 is an eight-session leadership program hosted by The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington to develop rising Jewish leaders (20s and 30s) who are seeking to enrich their leadership abilities and gain exclusive access to Federation’s network of resources and community of established philanthropic leaders and mentors. Each session will feature distinguished community leaders, define the skills and tools leaders require, and inspire participants to put their enhanced leadership into action. NEXUS participants will be empowered in their efforts to better engage the Jewish community in Greater Washington.

NEXUS graduates are some of the most influential lay leaders and changemakers in our community. They go on to serve as chairs of Federation boards, events, community organizations, and more. Participants can expect:

  •  Empowerment to put your new leadership skills to work, becoming engaged and philanthropic leaders in your respective communities no matter what stage of your personal or professional lives.
  • Lifelong membership to the NEXUS alumni association, consisting of top lay leaders and philanthropic professionals in our local Jewish community and beyond.
  • Strengthened connections to Federation’s partner agencies, programs, and community projects.
  • Exclusive access to Federation’s network of resources, engagement opportunities, and a widespread community of established philanthropic leaders and mentors.

Applications Due
Monday, December 7, 2020

Acceptances Announced
Friday, December 11, 2020

Program Cost
$54 per participant


This is NEXUS 2021: Meet Your Fellow Leaders

Welcome to NEXUS 2021! This session will be divided into two parts. First, we will review the curriculum, e-binder, and general housekeeping as well as introduce the “Pitch It” project and teams. The “Pitch It” project is the participants’ opportunity to go through the exercise of creating and pitching a mock philanthropic program from start to finish. Each “Pitch It” team will be paired with a Young Leadership (YL) board member “coach” to advise them on their projects throughout the eight-week program. Participants will convene with their “Pitch It” teams for an ice breaker, as well as an empowering discussion on the type of leader they want to be. Discussion prompts will explore the big questions: What is a leader? What is a leader to you? Each team will choose a name and then, the NEXUS 2021 class will reconvene for a final recap and discussion.

Tzedakah & Philanthropy: The Allocation Challenge 

Community service and philanthropy are the cornerstone of what it means to be a leader within the Jewish community. Guided by Federation’s mission, we will explore our philanthropic goals as leaders. We will break into groups and play a game of “allocations,” in which each team will be given the challenge and responsibility to appropriately allocate funds to programs and communities in need. This session will open the door to new leaders; empowering them to take that first step with the knowledge that they can be philanthropic leaders in their communities no matter what the stage of their personal or professional lives.

Tikkun Olam: The Health of the World as it Relates to Us

What does it mean to be part of a global people historically and today? We will discuss Federation’s response to the global pandemic and how our community is rallying together through tikkun olam (repairing the world) to provide relief where needed. We will discuss the threat of anti-semitism, examining the harsh realities of its effect on the Jewish community—presently and in the future, on a local and global scale—and how best to combat it. It is time to take the temperature and evaluate the current health of the world. We are here to discuss how to become changemakers, how best to respond to constantly arising threats, and how to empower yourself and others to heal the world no matter what stage of life you are in.

Inclusivity & Diversity: Be the Voice, Empower the Voice

An expert-led discussion on diversity, stereotypes, and inclusivity in the workplace and beyond. We will recognize the role we have as leaders to strengthen and empower our diverse, beautiful, vibrant Jewish community. We will address the current hurdles in today’s environment and work together to address how to be an inclusive leader—both as an individual and as a team—embracing authenticity, encouraging diverse voices, creating a sense of belonging, and empowering oneself and others as an advocate and ally to those around you. Be the voice and empower the voice.

Relationship Building: The Art of Human Connection

Jackie Zais of GatherDC will cover the art and importance of relationship-based engagement. This methodology does not seek to bring in those from the outside but instead to understand people holistically in order to guide them towards offerings and/or experiences that meet them where they are. In this session, we will explore the power of centering our work and leadership around people first and the importance of making space for exploratory conversations, to deepen relational trust, and to better understand the individuals within and outside the Jewish community.

Leadership Skills 101: Putting it into Practice

Let’s put all that you have learned to practice—from vision to reality. In this session, you will be empowered with tangible skills in how to influence your peers, develop programs, pitch strategies, support a unified or individual vision, navigate difficult discussions, and manage conflict. We will ensure that as future leaders, you are well equipped to lead and foster engagement within your community and beyond.

Pitch It! Your Federation Program Idea

Now is your time to shine—buckle up for an evening of pitching! This session is dedicated to participants’ growth and development, allowing each “Pitch It” team to showcase their polished leadership skills. Each group will take what they have learned about leadership, as an individual and a collective, as it relates to programming, philanthropy, relationship building, and beyond to pitch a program to Federation’s panel of judges. The judges will award superlatives at the NEXUS graduation, which will include “Most Likely to Get Funded,” “Most Original,” and “Most Impactful.”

Graduation: NEXUS Class of 2021

Congratulations! You are now more educated and empowered leaders than ever before, armed with the tools you need to have a voice and make change in your own lives and in our Jewish community. We will bring back our panel of judges to present superlatives and diplomas, and to provide an overview of Federation’s leadership opportunities so, as NEXUS graduates, you can continue to stay involved as our future leaders in the Jewish community on a local and global scale.

Please complete your application for NEXUS 2021 by Monday, December 7, 2020.

For more information, please contact Erika Kauder at youngleadership@shalomdc.org.