In 2009, Rose Community Foundation’s Jewish Life Program Area began studying the disengagement between teens and Jewish Life. In order to address this growing issue, the Foundation brought stakeholders together from the Greater Denver community and developed a plan for change. By 2014, funders and practitioners came together to launch an ambitious effort, The Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative. This collaborative initiative is designed both to increase the number and diversity of high school age Jewish teens participating in Jewish education and engagement experiences, and to deepen the quality and diversity of those experiences in the Greater Denver community.
The Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative, one of the largest ever undertaken by the Foundation, is supported by more than $5.6 million and more than 30 funders, and involves significant collaboration both locally and nationally. Jim Joseph Foundation, one of the largest Jewish foundations, and Rose Community Foundation are partnering to lead the effort. Five local nonprofit organizations in the Greater Denver community have received grants to engage local teens in new and innovative ways including Boulder Jewish Teen Initiative, Jewish Student Connections, Moving Traditions and UpStart.
For more information about the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative, please contact Vanessa Bernier, Jewish Life program officer.
This report, which is based on seven years of data collection and evaluation, is intended to serve as a valuable data source for professionals and institutions – both locally and nationally – seeking to engage Jewish teens and their families. Findings may be utilized to inform a variety of approaches, from considering potential investments in teen engagement to elevating the needs of Jewish-teen-serving professionals to cultivating community collaboration and a cohesive community vision around teen programming.