The Covenant Foundation announced $1.6 million in new grants today, continuing its commitment to support the most creative and innovative approaches to Jewish education.

“It is so inspiring to see the wonderful work our grant applicants bring forward each year,” said Cheryl R. Finkel, Chair of the Board of Directors of The Covenant Foundation. “There is imagination and excitement evident in each and every program design and we can’t wait to see where this latest cohort of grantees take their dreams.”

Foundation grants are divided into two categories: Signature grants, which generally provide funding of up to $150,000 over three years, and Ignition grants, of up to $20,000 for one year to support new and untested approaches.

The grants announced today are part of approximately $1.8 million to be distributed this year.

“The new and inventive projects described here are the best reflection of where Jewish education is headed in 2019,” said Harlene Appelman, Executive Director of The Covenant Foundation.

“Family Education, citizenship and civil discourse, teaching Judaism through the arts, investing in professionals at every stage of their careers, continually re-imagining text and Torah study—these are just some of the vital areas we are proud to support and in which we are eager to see growth. We have every confidence that this year’s group of grantees will guide us capably toward a new and exciting phase in Jewish education.”


2018 Signature Grants

14th Street Y, New York, NY with local reach in the New York Metropolitan Area. Family Education in the 21st Century: Emergent Small Groups Connected to Legacy Institutions. To pilot and launch a new model of Jewish education for millennial families, with the ultimate goals of creating Jewishly-engaged family groups and codifying a model that can be adapted at JCCs around the country.

Project Director: Alan Scher; $50,000 (1 year).

American Friends of Beit Hatfutsot, New York, NY with national reach. The Jewish Lens at The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot. To manage, develop, and promote The Jewish Lens program throughout North America (including Canada, the United States, and Mexico). Beit Hatfutsot will enhance the curriculum, add new visual art forms, increase the program’s digital presence, and design three specific program tracks to better serve the needs of learners.

Project Director: Shula Bahat; $35,000 (1 year).

American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY with national reach. The Emma Lazarus ProjectTo create the Emma Lazarus Project, a multi-faceted website with video, curriculum, a poetry contest, and accompanying professional development (both live and in synchronous webinars) to engage Jewish educators and students with the rich legacy of Emma Lazarus. The project will also demonstrate how delving into historical complexities serves as a catalyst for civic engagement.

Project Director: Dr. Annie Polland; $170,000 (3 years).

Base, New York, NY with local reach in the New York Metropolitan Area. The Base Artists-in-Residence Fellowship. To create the inaugural Base Artists-in-Residence Fellowship, in which two cohorts of emerging Base artists will engage in Jewish learning with rabbinic mentors, enabling them to explore their craft and artistic process through a Jewish lens. Base is a project incubated in Hillel International’s Office of Innovation.

Project Director: Faith Leener; $16,500 (1 year).

Be’chol Lashon, San Francisco, CA with national reach. Passport to Peoplehood (P2P). To focus on development, distribution, and training for Passport to Peoplehood. Be’chol Lashon will connect with educators and students at multiple touch points with the ultimate goal of giving teachers the skills and tools they need to teach the P2P content.

Project Director: Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder; $30,000 (1 year).

Brandeis Marin, San Rafael, CA with local reach in the San Francisco Bay Area and national implications. The Tiferet Project. To develop an Israel education and engagement curriculum, using art and culture to introduce students to the country, its people, history, and way of life, while initiating conversations about challenging issues facing Israeli society today.

Project Director: Dr. Peg Sandel; $150,000 (3 years).

Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education, Miami, FL with regional reach. Jewish Education and Life Coaching for Youth Professionals. To create Jewish Education and Life Coaching for Youth Professionals, a unique, adaptable professional development curriculum and coaching certification program for youth professionals.

Project Director: Carly Orshan; $50,000 (1 year).

Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership at The George Washington University, Washington, DC with national reach. Text and Tradition: A Jewish Study and Values Initiative for Senior Professionals in Jewish Nonprofits. To create the Text and Tradition Initiative, a twelve-month blended learning program for senior professionals working in Jewish nonprofits, which will provide high-level learning around Jewish values, rituals, and foundational concepts in order to foster cultural competence and confidence in the Jewish workplace.

Project Director: Dr. Erica Brown; $150,000 (4 years).

Reboot, New York, NY with national reach. The Reboot Fellowship Program.To fund the Reboot Fellowship Program, which will provide members of the Reboot network with deep, immersive Jewish educational experiences and inspire them to create products and programs that will engage and educate a new generation of Jews.

Project Director: Francine Hermelin Levite; $50,000 (1 year).

The William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education, The Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, NY with national reach. The Jewish Court of All Time. To expand the Jewish Court of All Time program by enhancing its civic engagement content, increasing the number of schools served, and providing additional professional development opportunities for educators.

Project Director: Dr. Meredith Katz; $142,500 (2 years).

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, New York, NY with national reach. A Seat at the Table: A Journey of Jewish FoodTo fund the development and implementation of a unique online course on the history of Jewish food, which will address the subject from multiple access points and perspectives and will include the exploration of the role of Jewish food in shaping culture, tradition, and identity.

Project Director: Ben Kaplan; $95,000 (2 years).

2018 Ignition Grants

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, New York, NY with local reach in the New York Metropolitan Area. Aggadah Adventures: Immersive Learning for Our Youngest Jews. To create a series of four uniquely immersive Jewish learning experiences for the congregation’s youngest Jews (ages 0-6) and their grown-ups, in which children and parents will see Jewish stories come to life through song, puppetry, and participatory interaction.

Project Director: Rabbi Yael Rapport; $15,250 (1 year).

The Harold and Elaine Shames Jewish Community Center on the Hudson, Tarrytown, NY with local reach in Westchester CountyJCC Global MekoRock: Connecting Youth to the Global Jewish Community through MusicTo fund the JCC Global MekoRock: Connecting Youth to the Global Jewish Community through Music program, which engages teens through music and uses Jewish texts as vehicles for strengthening Jewish education, Jewish identity, and Jewish peoplehood.

Project Director: Kayla Reisman; $20,000 (1 year).

JCC Association of North America, New York, NY with national reach. Blueprinting JCCA’s Center for Arts and Culture. To create the blueprint for JCCA’s Center for Arts and Culture, a connected community of arts professionals, who will build a shared vocabulary and develop a strategy to help further integrate arts and culture educational programming within JCCs nationwide.

Project Director: Randy Ellen Lutterman; $20,000 (1 year).

The Jewish Studio Project, Berkeley, CA with national reach. Catalyzing the Creative Facilitator Training Program. To develop a comprehensive curriculum on the Jewish Studio Process methodology that will serve as the foundation for the Creative Facilitator Training (CFT) program.

Project Director: Rabbi Adina Allen; $20,000 (1 year).

Matan, New York, NY with national reach. Matan Institute 2.0. To support the launch of Matan Institute 2.0, affording Matan alumni the opportunity to deepen their disability inclusion knowledge through topic-specific training.

Project Director: Meredith Englander Polsky; $20,000 (1 year).

Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning, Skokie, IL with national reach. The Peaceful Parent Project. To develop and launch the first year of The Peaceful Parent Project, a program integrating Jewish text study with mindfulness practices to support parents’ efforts to rear their children in compassionate, spiritually-connected, and inspired Jewish families.

Project Director: Dr. Jane Sherwin Shapiro; $18,600 (1 year).

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Since 1991, the Foundation has provided more than $33 million to support Jewish education in North America. Past grantees are highlighted on the Foundation’s website.

The Covenant Foundation is currently inviting 2019 Signature and Ignition Grant applications. Visit https://www.covenantfn.org/grants/ for information and guidelines. The deadline for submitting an initial Letter of Inquiry is March 5th, 2019.

The Covenant Foundation is a program of the Crown Family Philanthropies.