"It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either." Pirke Avot 2:16
The majority of Jewish people in Greater Denver and Boulder say that being Jewish is important to them but 60 percent are not connected to local Jewish institutions. These organizations are challenged by the general disinterest or alienation of Jews, and especially younger Jews, from institutions and the proliferation of more personal and participatory approaches to Jewish life.
The Impact We Seek
To create and sustain a more welcoming, vibrant, diverse and inspiring quality of Jewish life that engages more Jewish people through:
- Innovation and new ways to connect Jews to Jewish life and to each other
- Efforts to strengthen institutions so they can respond to change
Jewish Life Grantmaking
To advance innovation in Jewish Life, we have two grant priorities:
- Welcome and connect Jews and others in their households to Jewish life
- Promote Jewish growth and learning
To strengthen institutions to change there are two more grant priorities:
- Build organizational strength
- Foster leadership
Collaborations and Leadership in Jewish Life
In addition to inviting grant applications for these grant priorities, the Jewish Life program area takes leadership by creating initiatives to advance innovation in the Jewish community. Here are a few examples:
- Colorado Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative – This is a collaboration of Jewish ECE centers, the Colorado Agency for Jewish Education, JEWISHcolorado (formerly Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado) and Rose Community Foundation working to improve the quality of ECE centers, to promote Jewish identity and expand access to Jewish ECE for families. Learn more about this initiative in the Colorado Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative Progress Report 2008-2012.
- Live On: Build Your Jewish Legacy – This initiative has helped 31 organizations solicit more than 3,000 donors for bequests resulting in 855 legacy gifts totaling $51.5 million. Visit Live On's website.
- MazelTot.org: Connecting Young Families to Local Jewish Life – This initiative brings together dozens of Jewish organizations to make it easier for parents of prenatal- through preschool-aged children to explore Jewish life in Greater Denver and Boulder. At MazelTot.org, parents can get connected to each other, browse hundreds of programs, and redeem significant, grant-funded discounts to try out new Jewish experiences. Visit MazelTot.org.
- Roots & Branches Foundation – A collaborative giving program that brings Jewish people ages 25 to 40 together through collaborative philanthropy to shape their Jewish and broader communities. Learn more about this initiative.
- Rose Youth Foundation – Since 2001, this program has engaged over 230 Jewish teens in hands-on grantmaking totaling over $900,000. Learn more about this initiative.
- Jewish Teen Engagement – Because of alarming trends of disaffiliation and increased interest from local Jewish organizations, Jewish teen engagement is an important focus for proactive grantmaking. Read more about our process and view documents related to this work. In 2014, we announced the launch of a multi-faceted Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative. Read the news release.
A variety of resources inform our work in Jewish Life. View our studies and reports.
We invite you to join us as we connect people, resources and innovative ideas to strengthen the community. Please contact the Jewish Life program officer if you are interested in joining us in this work.