Federation Scholarships: Help is on the Way

The United States Census Bureau reports that the typical San Francisco household makes nearly $97,000 a year, nearly twice the national median household income.

So why all the kvetching?

Well, with a cost of living in the Bay Area that is over 80% above the national average, money does not go as far as it used to. Households making less than $117,400 literally qualify as “low income” for a family of four in San Francisco and San Mateo counties according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That harsh economic reality has certainly not spared the Bay Area Jewish community.

But here’s the good news…

The Federation is doing something about it. Quite a few things, starting with a broad slate of scholarships offering much needed financial assistance for everything from pre-school to summer camp to college… all the way to Israel.

“We offer $1,800,000 in scholarships each year,” said Federation program officer Caroline Poland. “We have a scholarship for almost every facet of Jewish life.”

This is no exaggeration. Here are just a few of the dozens of scholarships currently available:

Overnight Camp

Speak with virtually any alumni from Camp Tawonga, Camp Newman, Camp Ramah, Be’chol Lashon, or Maccabi Sports Camp, and they will tell you about the transformative power of the Jewish overnight camp experience and the lifelong friendships that ensue. But the barriers of entry to providing these experiences, particularly in single parent households, can be quite high. In view of that fact, the Federation is offering interested single parent families scholarships ranging from $300 to $700 depending on the length of stay.

Additionally, scholarship and grant dollars are available to Bay Area two parent families though the Federation’s Scholarship Committee as well as through the One Happy Camper Initiative, which offers need-blind incentive grants of up to $1,000 to families with children attending nonprofit, mission-driven Jewish overnight camp for the first time.

And yet more camp scholarship funds are accessible to families with special needs (Jewish LearningWorks’ Special Needs Family Camp), victims of the North Bay wildfires (North Bay Wildfire Fund), and to those that are struggling through grief and loss (The “Grief and Growing Weekend” through the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center).

Beyond all these opportunities, day camp scholarships are available as well.

Jewish Preschools and Day Schools

We are acutely aware of the fact that families that wish to provide their children with a Jewish day school educational experience face huge financial hurdles. Accordingly, the Federation is offering nearly one million dollars in combined funds to make this choice a more affordable one.


Dozens of undergraduate and graduate school scholarships and grants are available. They are granted upon both merit and financial need and are as diverse in nature as are the members of our Jewish community. Some seek qualified candidates with interest in the arts and humanities. Others is science. And yet others are offering scholarship funds to applicants who have demonstrated leadership within the Jewish community.

Israel Experiences

For teens and young adults between 12 and 26, Israel trips ranging from 2 weeks to an entire year are available and increasingly affordable through the Israel Within Reach Initiative, as well as several other Federation-sponsored scholarships and grants.

For questions about scholarships, please contact Caroline Poland at 415.512.6252.

Categories: Community


February 14, 2019


Jon Moskin