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Jewish Community Foundation Announces over $2 million in Grants

Jewish Community Foundation Announces over $2 million in Grants

The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) today announced over $2 million in grants to nine innovative, local initiatives focused on transforming Jewish Los Angeles. 

This year’s Cutting Edge Grant recipients serve a wide range of needs, including: training Jewish teen advisors to offer support and guidance to their peers via a smartphone application; educating and empowering Jewish clergy, educators, and older adults on the issue of elder abuse; and building a Spanish language, pro-Israel media presence in Los Angeles.

Established by The Foundation in 2006, the Cutting Edge Grants are multi-year awards of up to $250,000 given to creative thinkers, social entrepreneurs, and innovative organizations to develop and implement programs of high visibility and impact in the L.A. Jewish community. These include both initiatives created in Los Angeles, and local launches of programs operating elsewhere. Successful applicants must demonstrate the capacity and leadership to implement their initiative, that the program is unique and sustainable, and that it offers long-term benefits to Jewish L.A.

Foundation President and CEO Marvin I. Schotland stated: “This year’s Cutting Edge Grant recipients are an exceptionally diverse group of social innovators that together address a broad range of issues in Los Angeles. From elder abuse, to teen counseling, to furthering a positive image of Israel and our Jewish community among Latino audiences, these grantees are finding inventive ways to connect with their constituents. We look forward to watching their programs grow and develop over time. Since the Cutting Edge Grants’ inception 13 years ago, we have distributed more than $19 million to support over 100 transformative initiatives. These breakthrough programs have strengthened the fabric of Jewish Los Angeles, and deeply engaged our community.”

Recipients of 2018 Cutting Edge Grants include:

Act.IL for The Los Angeles Media Room 
Act. IL will receive $190,000 over three years to mobilize, train, empower and engage hundreds of teens and young adults in the L.A. Jewish community to effectively advocate for Israel across social media platforms.

Bet Tzedek’s For the Sake of our Elders: A Campaign to Fight Elder Abuse in the Jewish Community 
Bet Tzedek will receive $250,000 over three years to address the prevalence of elder abuse in the L.A. community by focusing on empowering older adults within the Jewish community to identify and speak out on the issue, and by training Jewish clergy and educators on legal responsibilities and tactics for ending elder abuse. Jessie Kornberg, Bet Tzedek’s president and CEO, highlighted this growing problem: “When I first started at Bet Tzedek, we would get one or two calls about an elder abuse case each week. Now we get double that number every day. No one has responded faster to this exploding epidemic than the visionary leadership at the Jewish Community Foundation. Together, we look forward to preventing this abuse before it happens and ensuring our community knows how to seek relief for its most vulnerable.”

Fuente Latina for Fuente Latina Los Angeles 

Fuente Latina will receive $250,000 over three years to build upon its success in Miami to launch a Spanish language, pro-Israel media presence in L.A.  The initiative is designed to positively impact perceptions of Israel and the L.A. Jewish community in Spanish-language media and the wider Spanish-speaking community.

Fuente Latina CEO and Founder Leah Soibel shared the importance of launching the initiative in Los Angeles: “Thanks to the generous support of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, hundreds of Latino journalists and media influencers will now have a local Latina source of information to empower them to tell accurate stories that inform millions of Latinos about Israel, the Jewish community, and the Middle East.”

Hillel 818 for Jewish Identity Project 

Hillel 818 will receive $160,000 over three years to lay the groundwork for the next generation of diverse Jewish leaders by scaling up its program to engage hundreds of Jewish Russian, Persian, and Israeli college students in Jewish life through culturally specific social, religious, and educational programming. 

IsraAID US for Humanitarian Professional Network 
IsraAID US will receive $250,000 over three years to introduce L.A. Jews to IsraAID and train young Jewish professionals to deploy on its international aid missions, where they can carry out their Jewish values and engage with Israel by providing emergency relief around the world. Through this process, IsraAID will also build a community of like-minded individuals interested in global humanitarian awareness.

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles for Ten Talk 
Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters will receive $250,000 over three years to train Jewish teens under the guidance of trained practitioners to become effective peer mentors to other teens — seeking support for anxiety, depression, relationships, family issues, school and beyond — who connect via a smartphone application. The program aims to build a community of empathetic teens, inspired by Jewish values, who are ambassadors of social and emotional health.  

Randy Schwab, CEO of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles, explained the significance of this grant: “We are honored to be a recipient of a Cutting Edge Grant which will enable our new Teen Talk initiative to become a reality. This innovative approach to mentoring teens uses a tool they’re very comfortable with—a smart phone app—allowing them to speak confidentially and anonymously with highly trained teens.”

Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles for LIFE @ Home (Living, Inspired, Fit, and Engaged)
Jewish Family Service will receive $210,000 over two years to support greater connectivity between homebound Holocaust survivors and the wider community. Using cutting-edge technology to access a blend of supportive services — including social, educational, and holiday programs — the initiative is intended to improve quality of life for survivors and enable them to age-in-place with dignity and grace.

Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles for The Campaign for Civil Discourse 
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles will receive $250,000 over three years to train Jewish leaders to facilitate and practice difficult conversations around critical issues which develop a culture of dialogue across diverse sectors of the L.A. Jewish community. The Campaign works in partnership with Resetting the Table.

Project Miracle for Miracle Masters 
Project Miracle will receive $250,000 over four years to address the social isolation and unemployment experienced by adults with special needs. Through Miracle Masters, it will scale up its performing arts, Judaica education, and vocational services for Jewish adults with disabilities, as well as train Jewish clergy on inclusion of people with special needs.

About The Jewish Community Foundation
Established in 1954, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles manages charitable assets of $1.25 billion entrusted to it by over 1,300 families and ranks among the 10 largest Los Angeles foundations. It partners with donors to shape meaningful philanthropic strategies, magnify the impact of their giving, and build enduring charitable legacies. In 2017, The Foundation and its donors distributed $100 million in grants to more than 2,600 nonprofits with programs that span the range of philanthropic giving. Over the past 25 years, it has distributed more than $1 billion in grants to thousands of nonprofits across a diverse spectrum.