Celebrating the Inaugural South Peninsula Impact Grant Awardees

By Adina Danzig Epelman, Program Officer, Regional Grantmaking

On Wednesday evening, March 20, 2013, 120 community members, agencies, schools, and major donors gathered at Congregation Beth Am, in Los Altos, to celebrate the awardees of the first round of venture-style funding to South Peninsula Jewish organizations on the topic of engaging young families in Jewish life, a major challenge facing the region.

Like other Impact Grant Initiatives (IGIs) of the Federation, the IGI Committee of the South Peninsula, a diverse group in its own right, worked hard to determine the focus of this grant round on a big challenge and to evaluate the contenders for grants over several months.


The committee received 25 responses to the RFP and ultimately awarded four grants totaling $500,000 over three years to the following innovative and high impact programs and organizations working to engage South Peninsula families in Jewish life: Jewish Birth Network - Congregations Kol Emeth and Beth Am; Setting the Table South Peninsula - Hazon; Kesher, Jewish LearningWorks; and Friendship Circle Bay Area. The event was inspiring, with palpable excitement in the room as the grant award checks were announced and presented.  There was a renewed sense of optimism and enthusiasm for the potential impact we can have when we come together with our dollars and ideas in a focused way.

The four programs all seek to engage families with young children in Jewish life.  Jennifer Gorovitz, CEO of the Federation, congratulated the committee on its thoughtful work and issued a clear call to action to all those present. She asked that everyone in the room think about families they know who fit the target audience for these programs, and reach out to them to connect them with the program most appropriate for that family.  By providing financial support, and by leveraging our social networks, Jennifer noted that we are truly expressing the Power of Community, and helping to weave a stronger, more robust fabric of Jewish life.


The evening was full of good food, conversation, and a hands-on activity. Hazon, one of the grantee organizations, invited each guest to engage in a D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) activity that is part of their family engagement program:  pickle-making!  Dozens of guests helped themselves to a mason jar, pickling spice, and an assortment of locally grown, seasonal veggies (cucumbers are not in season in March - who knew?) and left with a jar and instructions of how to care for their pickled vegetables.


Guests left the event uplifted by the festive spirit, bolstered with information about JCF’s new investments to strengthen South Peninsula Jewish life, and with their own handmade jar of pickled veggies to remember the taste of the evening for weeks to come. Committee selection for the next round of grants will begin shortly, in a topic area yet to be determined.  Committee members learn valuable philanthropic skills and build meaningful relationships with their cohort, the grantees, and the Federation alike.

For more information on the South Peninsula IGI, contact Adina Danzig Epelman, Program Officer, Regional Grantmaking at 415.512.6216. You can read more about our South Peninsula grantees in our February blog as well as the Palo Alto Patch.


Categories: Events


April 09, 2013


The Federation