Jewish Young Adult Resilience and Belonging

Background and Purpose:

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically disrupted the lives of young adults, along with so many in our global community. Employment is now uncertain or has ended, schools have gone online for an undetermined amount of time, and loved ones are sick or have passed away too soon. Friends are just faces on Zoom, a tool that many are exhausted from using, and many have returned home to live with their families, with newfound independence now gone. Isolation has led to 66% of young adults experiencing heightened depression or anxiety (OneTable Coronavirus Impact Study 2020) and a mourning for what has been lost.

At the same time, the Jewish community and institutions in the Bay Area have been showing up for Jewish young adults in their time of need, offering space for self-care and support through Jewish wisdom, creating opportunities for new connections, teaching skills to take up at home, or creating gatherings where young adults can learn and challenge each other in pursuing racial justice in the United States.

The Federation is pleased to offer grants to Jewish organizations with existing young adult networks and programs in the Bay Area working to build connection, belonging, and resilience for Jewish young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this grant round, we seek to sustain young adults ages 18-40 (including college students) in the Bay Area who are in need of support and community during this challenging time, to deepen their Jewish engagement, and strengthen a thriving ecosystem of young adult Jewish experiences. 

Our vision is for Jewish young adults of all backgrounds to find meaning, connection, belonging, and resilience through participation in Jewish life. 

Proposal Guidelines:

The Federation will award operating or programmatic grants of $10,000-$60,000, depending on the scope and young adult reach, to organizations active in young adult-focused work, proactively thinking about ways to provide supportive spaces for young adults and who are eager to experiment with Culture of Belonging methodologies. 

Preferred organizations already offer creative programming that focuses on providing comfort, wisdom, and connection for an existing Jewish young adult community they have cultivated. They also have strategies to reach unengaged young adults and diverse-identifying Jews (i.e. Jews of Color, Mizrahim/Sephardim, LGBTQIA+, Jews from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds).

Designing for belonging requires intention and a reorientation around human connection and belonging. Each grantee will be asked to select at least one professional to participate in a launch gathering of grantees, quarterly workshops with the Federation’s Culture of Belonging Practice Group, and organization-specific coaching. Participants will ideally have influence on the organization’s design process for existing young adult programming and the ability to infuse their learnings back into the organization.

Applicants must demonstrate buy-in from professional and volunteer leadership to explore culture change around belonging, the capacity and inclination to re-orient programming towards belonging, and the ability to measure the progress of this work.

Eligibility and Criteria:

Applicants must:

  • Be a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit or organization with fiscal sponsorship in the Federation's service area;
  • Actively serve Jewish college students and/or young adults;
  • Articulate alignment of this grant with their organization’s mission and goals;
  • Demonstrate strong organizational leadership and financial stability;
  • Show a commitment to testing, learning and iterating this approach in partnership with the Federation and other grantees;
  • Deploy competent staff and organizational resources to implement the work;
  • Align with the Federation’s mission and funding policy on Israel-related programming.

Grant Opportunity:

  • Grants may support existing or new work that meets the criteria within established networks of young adults.
  • Grants may support operating expenses of organizations fully dedicated to serving young adults or programs for young adults within larger organizations.
  • Requests of $10,000-$60,000 will be considered based on the number of young adults reached on an annual basis and the budget dedicated by organization or program to young adult engagement.
  • Eligible expenses include staffing, program supplies or materials, contractors, technology upgrades for virtual programming, marketing/communications, or other expenses to support the grant purpose.
  • Grants are coupled with capacity building support through the quarterly workshops with the Federation’s Culture of Belonging Practice Group and occasional grantee cohort gatherings.
  • Grant period: November 1, 2020 – October 31, 2021.
  • Grantees will report on their progress informally through regular communication with Federation professionals and a written report at the end of the grant period.

Success Measures:

We aim to work in partnership with grantees toward the following outcomes:

Participant Outcomes:

  • Increased feelings of support from the Jewish community during COVID-19
  • Increased feelings of connection and belonging in the Jewish community 
  • Increased meaning derived from participation in Jewish experiences
  • Increased friendships with Jewish young adults
  • Increased confidence and empowerment to create Jewish experiences with/for others

Program Outcomes:

  • Professionals/volunteer leaders feeling increased comfort designing programs for belonging

Application Process and Timeline:



Deliverable Timeline
Application Released Monday, July 27, 2020
Proposal Submission Deadline     Thursday, September 17, 2020, at 5:00 pm PDT
Grantees Informed Friday, October 23, 2020
Grantee Launch Gathering November/December 2020
Grant Term November 1, 2020 – October 31, 2021
Final Report Deadline November 30, 2021


For more information, visit the FAQ page.

Please contact Danit Trau, Senior Program Officer, Young Adult Engagement, for guidance or to answer questions before applying.


Danit Trau
Senior Program Officer, 
Young Adult Engagement