Local program to engage Jewish families receives Jim Joseph Foundation grant

The S.F.-based Jim Joseph Foundation has issued a grant of up to $1.75 million to expand a program designed to deepen the Jewish engagement of Bay Area families with young children.

The grant is going to the Jewish Resource Specialist program, part of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation’s Early Childhood Education Initiative. The funds will be used to expand the program from five to 15 early childhood education sites.

Launched in 2011, the JRS program equips schools and teachers with tools to increase Jewish learning opportunities for families. The end goal is to deepen Jewish curricula at local schools and encourage parents to choose Jewish education during and after their child’s preschool years.

The grant was one of several totaling more than $17 million that the Jim Joseph Foundation made to Jewish education organizations across the country.

Other grants were made to the Rose Community Foundation, up to $3.7 million to increase teen involvement in the Denver area; Hillel, up to $2 million to expand campus-based engagement and learning; the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies North America, up to $3.7 million for two programs; UJA-Federation of New York, up to $4.4 million for teen engagement; the National Ramah Commission, up to $222,000 to help establish learning hubs; Keshet, up to $250,000 to expand the LGBT advocacy group’s leadership training project; and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, up to $2.5 million to support the expansion of the PJ Library program.

Foundation president Al Levitt said in a press release. “Particularly with the recent events in Israel, we are steadfast in our determination to create more compelling Jewish learning opportunities and to pursue the vision of vibrant Jewish life.” — j. staff