The Jewish Foundation's Grantmaking in 2020

As the extraordinary year of 2020 began, prior to any indication of how much the world would change, the Foundation made or renewed several grants intended to explore new areas of community support and engagement. These included grants funding second Cincinnati cohorts of the acclaimed Wexner Heritage Program and Honeymoon Israel experience, as well as a second round of funding for the groundbreaking ish Jewish & Israeli Arts and Cultural Festival. The Foundation also awarded first-time or pilot grant funding to the JCRC’s Leaders in Light fellowship, Chabad of Blue Ash’s Friendship Circle program and the Jewish Fertility Foundation’s expansion to Cincinnati.

In addition, the Foundation continued to fund its signature operating grant initiatives, including the Annual Campaign Match and six community services programs run by its partners at the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, Programming & Engagement at the Mayerson JCC, Engagement and Education grants at 11 local Congregations, vital services and aging services initiatives at Jewish Family Service, capacity building grants at JVS Career Services, Cincinnati Hillel, Miami University Hillel and Chai Tots, as well as community engagement and service learning initiatives at HUC-JIR’s Cincinnati Campus.

2020 has also been a year in which the Foundation has challenged itself and its partners to consider new ideas and different modalities for broadening the impact of some of its grants. The congregation-based Supplementary Education programs, Jewish Teen Education & Engagement initiative and Rockwern Academy are all in the midst of efforts – with grant support from the Foundation – to build on innovation efforts to date and further “re-imagine” ways to meet their respective missions, and to possibly serve even more of the community.

The Civic & Cultural Fund received a number of exciting requests this year, and the Foundation was proud to fund arts and culture initiatives with Jewish themes at the Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Museum Center, Playhouse in the Park, as well as the Cincinnati debut of the InHEIRitance Project’s “Exodus in America” production. Although several of the performances were put on hold due to the pandemic, we look forward to their presentation, hopefully sometime next year. The Foundation also made several COVID-related grants from its Civic & Cultural Fund, including participation in relief funds run by the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati, Freestore Foodbank.

Finally, as the contours of this pandemic began to take shape this year, COVID Response comprised a significant amount of the Foundation’s time, support and funding in the Jewish community. Its first response, back in March, was to listen to what its partners were experiencing and to try to understand their needs as they navigated new imperatives for serving individuals and families in our community. The Foundation then offered tangible ways to extend that support, while keeping lines of communication open throughout the year. The Foundation joined the Jewish Federation and Jewish Home of Cincinnati, in partnership with generous individual donors contributing to the Federation’s COVID Relief Fund. The Foundation, Federation and the Mayerson JCC also partnered together to ensure safe operations with minimum disruption to the J’s programming this year. In partnership with Jewish Family Service and Havayah, the Foundation helped launch a new Mental Health First Aid Training initiative. And in a year in which so many overnight Jewish camps were forced to cancel their summer programs, the Foundation made an emergency grant to Camp Livingston to help weather the storm.

Follow the link below to view the full list of distributions.

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