Teen Initiatives

Increasing the number and diversity of teens engaged in Jewish experiences

The teen years are a critical time of identity formation on a young person’s journey to adulthood. Meaningful Jewish experiences are known to be uniquely enriching for teens, supporting their healthy growth and development, guiding them to create lives of meaning and connection, and inspiring them to improve the world. As such, the Federation is committed to leading and funding initiatives that serve as gateways to Jewish involvement, and support positive outcomes in teens including strong friendships, developing a sense of self, creating connections and belonging, and fostering pride in being Jewish.

Recognizing the diversity of the teen population, our multi-pronged approach to teen engagement is to build the capacity of our community organizations through grant-making and professional development (Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative), promote teen voice and engagement through direct service (Jewish Teen Foundation and Diller Teen Fellows) and provide program information and resources for teens and parents (JBridge).     

Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative 

The Teen Initiative builds the capacity of our community to expand the breadth, depth, and reach of innovative and high-quality Jewish teen programs, so that more Jewish teens benefit from these experiences. Launched in 2017 with major grant funding by the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Teen Initiative was designed within the context of the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative, a network of 10 communities working to enhance Jewish teen engagement across the country.  

The Bay Area Jewish Teen Initiative builds our community’s capacity to expand the landscape of Jewish teen engagement through innovative, high-quality programming and increased access to these programs through three interwoven strategies: 

  • Cohort-model Grantmaking to scale, expand, and diversify innovative programs for teens through collaboration, peer  
  • Professional Development to support and enhance the effectiveness of experiential Jewish educators and youth professionals, widely recognized as the key to successfully engaging teens;  
  • Information and Resource Hub to provide a centralized resource for teens, parents, and the community                                                                                                                                     

Goals of the Initiative

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of 10 communities – known as The Funder Collaborative –is a multi-faceted teen initiative aimed to reverse the increasing trend of teens opting out of Jewish life in their high school years. The Funder Collaborative has committed to six measures of success to gauge our progress:

  1. The number of engaged teens: Dramatically increase the number of teens in targeted geographic areas engaged in Jewish learning during their high school years.
  2. Diversity of engaged teens: Involve Jewish teens who come from diverse Jewish backgrounds.
  3. Teen learning and growth as Jews: Provide Jewish teens with experiences that will contribute to their Jewish learning and growth during their high school years.
  4. Financially sustainable models: Build models for Jewish teen education that are sustainable.
  5. Teen Education and engagement as a priority for leaders and parents: Establish Jewish teen education and engagement as a priority for local Jewish community leaders and parents.
  6. Competent and confident youth professionals: Youth professionals working with Jewish teens feel well-prepared and confident to do their work; have appropriate skills and knowledge to do their work; exhibit core competencies as required by their career stage and position, and feel valued as professionals in their organization and by the Jewish community at large.


In the News

JBridge: A new information and resource hub for Teens and Parents

A Place to Connect, Express Yourself, and Hang with Your Teen Crew

Expanding Your Reach: A New Networking and Learning Series Open to All Youth Professionals

Camp Ramah’s Harg’ah Teen Summer Program

Calling All Bay Area Teens

The Federation announces $2,000,000 in grants to launch the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Initiative

In addition to the Teen Initiative, the Federation also houses various programs that allow Jewish teens to get involved in the Jewish community and develop their leadership skills, including the San Francisco Diller Teen Fellows and Jewish Teen Foundations

For more information, please contact:
David Green
Director, Engagement, Community Impact