TWO organizations, the Boulder Jewish Community Foundation and Hazon, have funds available for Jewish organizations to use in their growth, outreach and community-building efforts.
Each has its own set of parameters regarding what they fund and how to apply, but both deadlines are in July.
While Foundation Executive Director Allen Hittelman said, “as a rule, BJCF’s focus is on helping the whole Jewish community, not just single specific organizations,” BJCF does use income from its endowment fund to “assist Jewish communal organizations in the Boulder area with space- and facility-related needs.”
The BJCF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that “supports the Boulder County Jewish community by providing funds to social service agencies, programs, and organizations that care for people in need as well as sustain and enhance Jewish life.”
It was founded in 1995 to create a culture and environment where Jewish life will thrive for all members of the Boulder Jewish community.
In 2002, the Rose Community Foundation and JEWISHcolorado offered an endowment challenge which, when met, provided $1 million to support the operational and space needs of local organizations that support and foster the Boulder Jewish community.
According to Hittelman, in 2005, BJCF spun the Boulder JCC off as the separate entity Boulderites know today, deeding all equity in the facility on Kalmia Avenue, and promising to distribute a 75% interest in the annual distribution of the endowment to the Boulder JCC.
While the JCC may have been the first, it is not the only organization to have been incubated by the BJCF.
That list includes the Boulder Jewish Preschool, the Boulder Jewish Calendar, the Jewish Networking Circle, the Youth Leadership Initiative, and Jewish-Together Boulder — which is still run by the BJCF.
BJCF believes that “the Boulder Jewish community consists of innovative and progressive [individuals] who want to create a meaningful Jewish experience for all, [and] the best way for us to be a strong vibrant community is to work together as a cohesive group.”
WITH that in mind, the BJCF gave away nearly $15,000 in grants ranging from $250 to $2,500 to 18 organizations last year.
The money went “primarily toward facility needs,” which translates into space rental for offices and events such as fundraisers and festivals like the Boulder Jewish Festival and the Boulder JCC.
Hittelman said the Boulder Jewish Festival “provides a ‘tent’ for all the Jewish organizations in the community.” The JCC grant went toward the building of a new facility designed to serve even more of Boulder’s Jewish community.
In addition, the BJCF funded grant requests from 10 synagogues, the Boulder Mikveh, Menorah Adult Education, JFS, Jewish-Together Boulder, and the 9News Health Fair, which was held at the Boulder JCC.
“The goal of our grants is not only to help with sustaining the facility needs of an individual organization,” said Hittelman, “but fostering collaboration and helping them to raise additional funds within their service community.”
The 2014-2015 grant cycle will award funds to Jewish organizations to help underwrite the facility costs of a fundraiser or event and to help upgrade an organization’s building.
When creating a request for funding, Hittelman said it is wise to remember that the BJCF strongly encourages “and will give priority to, grant requests for funds that will be used for matching grant purposes on at least a dollar-for-dollar basis.”
THE word hazon means vision in Hebrew, and the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization’s tagline is “Jewish Inspiration Sustainable Communities.” Its goal is to “create healthier and more sustainable communities in the Jewish world and beyond,” and their means of attaining that objective include “multi-generational programs designed to offer points of entry for Jews of all backgrounds who are concerned about the environment and the world.”
According to Sarah Kornhauser, director of the Denver office, and Becky O’Brien, director of the Boulder office, “Hazon brings resources and expertise directly to the Denver and Boulder areas to strengthen and support existing Jewish institutions and start-ups.”
They are particularly interested in growing and reinforcing the local Jewish food movement and Jewish environmental programs.
Hazon wants to build and strengthen programming related to Jewish food, the outdoors, and the environment in order to “catalyze energy and passion that already exists, give people a sense of Jewish possibility, seed programs and ideas, and support nascent leaders, so that a growing range of programs and experiences transform people’s lives and materially strengthen the Jewish community overall.”
According to Kornhauser, over the past three years Hazon has given out over $63,000 to 36 projects and programs to strengthen Jewish outdoor food and environmental education (JOFEE) by helping to start new programs such as gardens and day camps and encourage programs already in existence such as Ekar farm.
“These grants support existing Jewish institutions and leaders and bring new people into Jewish life, thus renewing Jewish life overall,” she said.
HAZON’S mini-grants program, which covers grants from $1,000 to $4,000 and is underwritten by the Rose Community Foundation, the Oreg Foundation, and 18 Pomegranates, is designed to fund local programs that enhance JOFEE.
This includes the creation and sponsorship of events that encourage the public to “engage with and support the very intensive work happening in [these areas, because, while] not everyone can be a Jewish food educator, or run environmental programs at their local day school, or be a Jewish farmer — everyone can be inspired by short-term immersive experiences that motivate their ongoing engagement with JOFEE programs in their home communities.”
Asked about the meaning of “a more sustainable individual Jewish life,” Kornhauser said it can mean many things, including making more intentional choices about the food one consumes (local? kosher? organic?); considering one’s interaction with the environment (drive? bike? walk? recycle? reuse?); thinking about individual and family consumption of shared resources such as water; and making conscious choices about what one does with one’s free time (a movie or gardening, a hike or a drive).
A participant in a recent JOFEE event put it this way:
“Participation in JOFEE experiences showed me that Judaism could look different than the form I grew up with. [It] connected the things that I care about most (environment, outdoor education) to my Jewish identity, and pushed me to become interested in food and food justice as well.”
EXAMPLES of funded projects include:
• food justice projects addressing hunger, food deserts, fair trade;
• educational programming around food or sustainability and Jewish tradition for youth or adults such as adopting Hazon’s Min Ha’aretz or other food curriculums, screening relevant educational films, hosting relevant lectures, offering workshops in gardening, cooking or food preservation;
• outdoor experiential learning or activities that increase awareness of the environment and Jewish tradition;
• education and advocacy around food or environmental policy or legislation;
• innovating and implementing Jewish food guidelines for your Jewish institution;
• training leaders or educators in food and environmental issues and Jewish tradition;
• building or expanding Jewish CSAs, gardens, or farms; and
• programs, or projects that engage Bar or Bat Mitzvah students in the Jewish food movement.
Applications, via http://hazon.org/ about/where-we-are/colorado/, are due by July 16, 2014.
Copyright © 2014 by the Intermountain Jewish News