At a time when arts and culture nonprofits are struggling as a result of the pandemic, CANVAS is dedicated to helping the field of Jewish arts and culture not just survive but grow. The JFN-housed initiative provides grants for Jewish arts organizations, engages and educates new funders who can provide additional support, and promotes Jewish arts projects to the Jewish community and beyond. The initiative, which was designed in response to field research commissioned by RPF, made significant headway in its first two years, and was able to quickly initiate emergency grants to Jewish artists in the wake of COVID-19. As it enters its third year, CANVAS is looking to increase its annual grantmaking and deepen its impact as a convener and network weaver for the field.
When the pandemic hit, many groups that engage Jewish young adults were forced to cancel programming on short notice. At the same time, the need for volunteers who could provide social services across the country spiked. Repair the World took this as an opportunity to partner with organizations working across the Jewish communal landscape to build a youth-driven movement that would 1) increase the capacity of nonprofits doing humanitarian relief work in the U.S., 2) inspire a lifelong commitment to service from Jewish young adults, and 3) be a powerful expression of Jewish life for the Jewish community and beyond. So far, Serve the Moment has catalyzed 93,800 acts of service and learning, and contributed more than 159,750 service hours to 283 nonprofit partners (equivalent to $4.56 million in value).
Led by Rabbi Jill Jacobs, T’ruah is a cross-denomination network of more than 2,000 rabbis and cantors using their voices for social change. In response to requests for guidance from their members on how to respond to racism and anti-Semitism, T’ruah is investing more deeply in moral leadership, and will provide resources, skills-based trainings, and peer-to-peer support. They will also equip clergy to provide “movement chaplaincy”—spiritual support for activists—to the growing number of American Jews dedicating themselves to social justice, thereby supporting people to do this work long-term.
Led by civil rights strategist Eric K. Ward, Western States Center (WSC) is a national organization working to strengthen inclusive democracy so all people can live, love, worship and work free from fear. In recent years, Ward—who has studied white supremacy for more than 20 years—has focused on combatting antisemitism. For WSC, this means helping social justice organizations understand the ways in which antisemitism animates white nationalism. Building on this work, WSC is launching a fellowship program that will engage a cohort of eight to 12 well-platformed, multidisciplinary leaders who hold local organizing, political, or community power in politically polarized regions. Facilitated by Megan Black (a trusted expert whose work RPF has previously supported), these “Common Good Fellows” will come together over 18 months to learn about antisemitism and White Nationalism and work collaboratively on projects that protect democracy by combatting these threats.
The Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s (IJS) Clergy Leadership Program (CLP) sustains and strengthens “spiritual first responders.” The program helps Jewish clergy cultivate personal spiritual practices grounded in mindfulness that benefit both their personal lives and their work over their careers. CLP includes retreats that combine prayer, meditation, text study, embodied practice, and group discussions; interim study and practice with a partner; and ongoing one-on-one guidance from a highly regarded staff. Hevraya, IJS’s program for CLP alums, provides ongoing support, learning, and practice opportunities, including an annual retreat. This renewal grant supports both programs.
Co-helmed by filmmaker Roberta Grossman and producer-curator Caroline Libresco, a former senior programmer of the Sundance Film Festival, Jewish Story Partners cultivates and funds independent Jewish-themed films, series, and short-form content of the highest caliber. With a focus on artists and projects with fresh and nuanced perspectives, JSP seeks to illuminate Jewish experiences, histories, and cultures in all their diversity– for Jewish and non-Jewish audiences alike.
Launched in the wake of the #MeToo movement—and the realization that the Jewish community is not exempt from the same problematic power dynamics that exist in other spaces—the SRE Network works to create safe, respectful, and equitable workplaces and communal spaces by addressing sexual harassment, sexism, and gender discrimination. It brings together more than 140 Jewish nonprofits, funders, individuals and experts to address these issues via strategic grantmaking, collaborative learning, and community-wide advocacy.
Established in 1934 to aid refugees of Nazi persecution resettling in America, The Blue Card is the only national nonprofit organization that provides critical cash assistance to Holocaust survivors in need, allowing them to live with dignity and respect. Since its founding, The Blue Card has distributed nearly $46 million to help financially insecure survivors pay for food, medication, rent, and other necessities, and continues to be responsive to changing needs. The organization launched several new initiatives in 2020, including a program to combat social isolation during the pandemic.