Culture of Belonging

Women at pride festival in matching blue shirts

A sense of inclusion is the foundation of a thriving community.

Over the past six years, the Federation has invested in instilling a culture of belonging among local Jewish organizations to help more people in our community feel seen, valued, and part of something bigger, strengthening organizations’ outcomes and success. Belonging doesn’t happen by chance.

For many, it requires intentional design and new habits and norms embedded in the DNA of organizations and groups at every level, from board to staff to volunteers to members to those who feel “outside.”

What are the benefits?

It’s more than welcoming, including, or recruiting, and it’s deeper than adding “feel-good” moments to existing programs. We're talking about changing the way we do everything to prioritize belonging. The benefits include:

  • Individual wellness, meaning, and connection
  • A more just and equitable Jewish ecosystem that “belongs” to all 473K of us, embracing all identities and backgrounds
  • Organizational health (from retention to increased giving and volunteerism)
  • Accelerated social change and high impact (as belonging fuels collaboration around shared purpose)

Tools you can use within your own organization or group.

The Federation’s Culture of Belonging (CoB) framework, based on the teaching and inspiration of Dr. Sarale Shadmi and Federation board member Varda Rabin, offers language and step-by-step guidance to drive this change.

Download our Culture of Belonging Toolkit for a DIY guide of core design principles and helpful practices like asset mapping, setting belonging goals, and transforming meetings.

Or access individual tools:

10 Principles
Belonging Goals
Customer to Partner Continuum 
Guide to Asset Mapping
How to Lead Transformative Meetings 
Opening and Closing Rituals 
Culture of Belonging Makeover Guide 
Putting Belonging to Work On Our Boards

The CoB initiatives we instituted have inspired awareness, action, and change across our Jewish ecosystem. Some milestones include:

  • 100+ Bay Area Jewish organizations participated in the Federation’s CoB offerings
  • 600 individuals joined CoB workshops, trainings, or 473K Belonging Experience conferences
  • 60+ Jewish organizations participated in Federation-led learning cohorts or communities of practice
  • 9 Jewish day schools participated in a two-year CoB cohort
  • 30 Federation professionals were trained in CoB methodologies as applied to their work through “CoB Lab” cohorts.