Announcing the Federation's Inaugural Round of Innovation Fund Grantees

The Bay Area is a hotbed of innovation. It is a region of possibility and optimism where boundaries are pushed, paradigms shifted, and new ideas created that often change the world. The Bay Area Jewish community has always been an integral part of this culture of innovation and impact. Today the Jewish Community Federation is partnering with and investing in some of the most creative programs and organizations around which are inspiring and engaging the next generation in Jewish life.

The nearly $1 million in grants through our Innovation Fund represents pioneering areas of investment, including: greater inclusion of the Jewish LGBT community here and in Israel; building a Jewish Memory Garden for parents grieving from neo-natal loss; and, supporting sustainable Jewish agriculture in the Bay Area.

2013 - 2014 Innovation Fund Grantees:

Aaron Davidman
WRESTLING JERUSALEM: A Performance and Community Conversation Project

Wrestling Jerusalem is an arts and social engagement program created by the former artist director of the Traveling Jewish Theatre, Aaron Davidman, in partnership with The New Israel Fund.  The program is focused on presenting Davidman’s play, WRESTLING JERUSALEM, a synthesis of voices and a lens through which to encounter the complicated, highly emotional terrain of Jewish identity, social justice issues, and the passionate feelings that come with a connection to the State of Israel as a Jewish national homeland. The program’s goal is to meet the growing need in the American Jewish community, and the American public at-large, and to engage in a more nuanced and elevated community conversation about Israel.


The G-dcast Ed/Tech Fellowship

This JCF grant is intended to create an educational technology fellowship that doubles G-dcast's development capacity making Jewish educational games, while creating low-cost, radically innovative "tech and Torah" learning workshops for Bay Area institutions.


Global Citizen Year, Inc.
Global Citizen Year/JCF Innovation Fellowship - Jewish Identity Focus

This JCF grant is intended to enable Global Citizen Year to launch a new community service program focused on Jewish values and identity. Each year, a group of JCF Innovation Fellows will be selected to receive special training and support to help them explore their Jewish identity throughout their Global Citizen Year.


Israel Strategic Alternative Energy Foundation (I-SAEF)
Israel Strategic Alternative Energy Foundation Initiative

To build a more prosperous and secure Israel and a healthier, safer, cleaner planet for people everywhere by providing merit-based support of early-stage alternative energy research conducted at all major Israeli universities.



Jewish Community Federation
One Happy Camper Program

The One Happy Camper (OHC) program provides grants of up to $1,000 (depending on length of camp session) for first-time campers to try Jewish overnight camp. OHC  is intended to “incentivize” Jewish overnight camp given the compelling data on the impact of this experience on the formation of a child’s Jewish identity, future Jewish commitment, practice and leadership.


Jewish Community Memory Garden
Jewish Community Memory Garden

Support is requested for the creation of The Jewish Community Memory Garden, a sacred place for communal support, reflection, and prayer for those who have suffered from pregnancy and neonatal loss. Through outreach, support, and enhanced Jewish communal conversation about the grief and isolation felt in pregnancy and neonatal loss, community members in need will be drawn to and find solace in the Garden.


The Jewish Graduate Student Initiative (JGSI)
The Jewish Ethics & Leadership Fellowship

This JCF grant is intended to support law school students through cultural and educational programming designed to connect young Jewish adults with active Jewish professionals in a supportive environment that enables and promotes creativity, social activism and fellowship with others and the community.

Keshet, Inc.
LGBTQ Community Capacity Building and Inclusion Initiative

To build community among Bay Area LGBTQ Jews, build the capacity of Bay Area Jewish institutions to be more inclusive of LGBTQ Jews, and identify and develop Bay Area LGBTQ Jewish leaders and deepen their Jewish engagement and identity.


The Kitchen Slow Down Jew Up
Kitchen Works Project

The Kitchen requests funding over three years to launch the Kitchen Works Project, which envisions the participation of up to 100 individuals / families in our Jewish community in a program that will explore the Jewish responsibility to better the world, while giving the participants the direct opportunity to act on that responsibility.  With the help of the Federation, we can teach these interested people and families to be stakeholders for the next Jewish generation of ideas, experiences and service.



The One Percent Foundation
Jewish Giving Circles Initiative

The One Percent Foundation is requesting funding over two years to launch a scalable philanthropy platform to allow discrete communities (companies, nonprofits, community foundations, and individuals) to engage their members, alumni, employees, and friends in a sustained and meaningful Jewish philanthropic experience.


Reboot, Inc.
The Unscrolled Project

The JCF grant is intended to support the development and launch of Unscrolled (unique Torah commentary as retold by 54 of America's most notable authors, humorists, screenwriters and journalists), accompanied by an educational website to foster learning and discussion, combined with a significant outreach campaign to engage interested individuals and institutions in the Jewish world and beyond.

UpStart Bay Area
General Operating Support

This JCF grant is intended to support UpStart in its endeavor to inspire and advance innovative ideas that contribute to the continued growth and vitality of Jewish life.      





Urban Adamah
Bay Area Expansion Initiative

Urban Adamah is a Jewish community farm and education center located in West Berkeley, California, that integrates the practices of Jewish tradition, sustainable agriculture, mindfulness and social action to build loving, just and sustainable communities.  Urban Adamah’s signature program is a fellowship for young adults consisting of a three-month, intensive leadership-training residency, offered three times a year to cohorts of 12–14 individuals, and a summer camp.  Other programming includes a summer camp for 5–10 year olds, Hebrew School on the farm, workshops and lectures, holiday celebrations and family and youth programs that combine farming and sustainability with Jewish tradition and values.  Urban Adamah is raising funds to expand its programming in partnership with other Bay Area Jewish organizations to the greater Bay Area.



A Wider Bridge
Programs for Engaging Bay Area LGBT Jews with Israel 

Support for programming that fosters deeper and more meaningful engagement with Israel among Bay Area LGBT Jews and allied communities.


 For more information on our Innovation Fund, contact Henry Velasco at 415.512.6272


Categories: Community, Grantees


July 31, 2013