Organizational Change for Inclusion of Jews of Color (POSTPONED)

Background and Purpose:

Fostering resilient and secure Jewish communities is one of the three primary goals of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund’s new Strategic Direction. Resilience is defined as the community’s ability to utilize its resources to adapt, ensure well-being, and thrive in the face of change. We envision a community with a safe and secure Jewish ecosystem, vibrant, diverse leadership, and a sense of shared responsibility for our future. Within this context, the Federation seeks to focus on efforts that build diverse, equitable, and inclusive Jewish communities throughout the Bay Area.

The Portrait of Bay Area Jewish Life and Communities indicates that 25% of Jewish households in the Bay Area include someone who identifies as a race or ethnicity other than white. And, the 2019 Leading Edge Employee Experience Survey found that while 70% of the employees surveyed believed that their organizations valued diversity, only 53% actually built diverse teams. Despite valuing diversity, our community has not yet fully cultivated or supported the inclusion of Jews of Color as participants or leaders.

While we have seen emerging efforts to reach, connect, and engage the diversity of our Jewish community, deep work is needed to create a true cultural shift. We believe that building cultural competence for diversity and inclusion will lead to stronger and more resilient organizations and communities, where everyone feels seen, heard, and respected. At the Federation, we recognize our need to also evaluate practices and cultural competency, and we are committing to advancing diversity and inclusion throughout our organization as well.

Proposal Guidelines:

Organizational Change Grants will be piloted by the Federation with the goals of addressing barriers to inclusion of Jews of Color and supporting organizations that are driving towards change. This grantmaking pilot will support capacity building through activities such as:

  • Assessments of current policies, practices, brand, and culture
  • Development of actionable plans for change
  • Training for staff and volunteer leaders
  • Policy development and implementation

Grants Offered:

Grants of $15,000-$25,000 will be awarded to 6-8 grantees for the fiscal year July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021 to support capacity building and organizational change.

Funds may be used to hire consultants, dedicate staff time, convene stakeholders, conduct training, or other activities in alignment with the guidelines above. 

Eligibility and Criteria:

  • Jewish organizations that are registered 501(c)3 non-profits or have fiscal sponsorship, located within the Federation’s service area.
  • Readiness for organizational change, demonstrated by early explorations of diversity and inclusion, and an articulated commitment by professional and volunteer leadership to make this work an ongoing priority. 
  • Availability of dedicated senior-level staff, volunteer leaders, and organizational resources to drive a change process.
  • Commitment to partnering with the Federation and other grantees to harness learnings for the field. 

Additional Information:

This work requires intentionality and purpose. In addition to funding, the Federation will engage an expert in the field of Jewish racial and ethnic diversity to facilitate a Community of Practice among the grantees. Bi-monthly facilitated conversations, scheduled in-person or virtually, will allow for the exchange of ideas, collaborative problem solving, shared learning, and cross-organizational collaboration. 

Measures of Success:

  • Increased knowledge and understanding of issues related to the inclusion of Jews of Color in organizations and Jewish communities.
  • Development of actionable long-term plans for leadership development, staffing, and/or programmatic engagement of Jews of Color.
  • Development of new organizational policies and procedures.
  • Alignment of professional staff and volunteer leaders on the priority of Jews of Color inclusion.

The Federation will also ask organizations to participate in the Leading Edge Leading Places to Work Survey and share results in 2020 and for two years after the grant term, so that we can jointly assess key markers of culture. 


For more information, visit the FAQ page. 


Roxanne Cohen
Managing Director of Community Impact