In January 2020, Rose Community Foundation released a new strategic plan to guide the organization’s work going forward. The Foundation remains committed to grantmaking in support of the region’s Jewish communities. As a result of our parallel Jewish Life strategic refresh, Rose Community Foundation will pursue the following objective and strategic priorities:

Objective: Encourage a dynamic and inclusive Jewish ecosystem that embraces a myriad of ways to be Jewish and builds enduring community infrastructure to sustain it.

Priorities:

  • Increase strength and capacity of Jewish organizations.
  • Support programs that are reflective of diverse Jewish communities and offer meaningful and relevant opportunities to engage in Jewish life.
  • Support Jewish efforts seeking to advance social justice by engaging Jewish people and using Jewish values and traditions to respond to key social and economic issues of our time.

Rationale for Jewish Life objective and priorities:

World events, geographic and cultural shifts, rapidly advancing technology and the sharing of information, news and entertainment have impacted Jewish life profoundly. The Jewish community of the 21st century is voluntary, pluralistic, more diverse and open to new ideas and experiences. People are choosing to express their Jewish identities differently and may not affiliate out of a sense of obligation. Rather, they choose to identify and belong if they believe that being part of a Jewish community can enrich and inspire them and their families.

Regional data gathered and analyzed this year by TCC Group and Brandeis University’s Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and Steinhardt Social Research Institute identified challenges and opportunities that undergird Rose Community Foundation’s adopted strategic direction for Jewish Life:

  • More than 60 percent of local Jewish organizations responding to the survey TCC Group fielded as part of our strategic refresh identified financial viability as a major concern, and 37 percent rated themselves as not strong in terms of financial reserves.
  • On that same survey, 25 percent of organizations rated themselves as not strong in donor engagement and fundraising.
  • Many respondents to Brandeis’ demographic study cited feeling that Jewish life is not relevant to their life right now (61 percent) and/or feeling like they do not belong (39 percent) as reasons for disconnection.

In articulating the objective and priorities that will focus Rose Community Foundation’s Jewish Life grantmaking, we commit to encouraging a dynamic and inclusive Jewish ecosystem. By ecosystem, we mean all of the formal and informal organizations and programs that Jewish people and their loved ones may interact with and participate in, such as synagogues, day schools, camps, early childhood education centers, Jewish community centers, campus activities, senior housing, communal organizations and emerging programs and initiatives.

In our commitment to diverse Jewish communities, we recognize individual differences which may include, but are not limited to, race, ethnicity, family structure, political belief, geography, denomination, etc. Our desire to support diverse Jewish communities stems from an understanding that Jewish people today exist in all these categories and more, and they are more likely to involve themselves in communities and organizations that make efforts to welcome them and their full identities.

We also lift up the notion of inclusion, meaning welcoming different individuals, families and practices and creating environments where diverse individuals can feel welcome, respected, supported and valued. In these ways and more, the objective and priorities for Jewish Life reflect and advance Rose Community Foundation’s values, mission and vision. At the same time, we have been and will continue to be a pluralistic funder, recognizing that in different Jewish settings, practices and perspectives on diversity and inclusion may look different. We embrace this tension and believe providing support across the many manifestations of Jewish life in our region is important to our Jewish ecosystem.