Grantmaking Guidelines


General Grantmaking Guidelines

Engaging Jews in Social Justice Guidelines

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Report on Funded Activities (Form for current grantees)


Synagogue Challange Grants

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Engaging Jews in Social Justice


Engaging Jews in Social Justice grants fall into one of three categories: Jewish Social Justice, Synagogue Challenge, and Tzedek Partner Program and Synagogue Challenge grants will be made only in the Jewish Fund for Justice’s target geographic areas. Other grants will be made all over the country, but priority will be given to JFJ’s target geographic areas.

I. Jewish Social Justice grants

Jewish social justice initiatives are efforts developed by one or more local Jewish groups or a coalition of Jewish groups to educate, organize and mobilize Jews in sustained local activities to combat poverty and injustice. Grants in this category will be given only to organizations that engage primarily in advocacy and/or organizing and work in partnership with other community-based, faith-based and/or labor groups.

To be eligible for funding, a group will:

  • Involve large numbers of Jews in grassroots, active, direct methods of bringing about change;

  • Involve a diverse range of Jews across the spectrum of age, affiliation, and identity;

  • Engage in sustained organizing campaigns for economic or racial justice in partnership with organizations led by low-income people and/or people of color; and

  • Have a budget of less than $750,000.

Example: Jewish Community Action in Minneapolis brings affiliated and unaffiliated Jews together to work in partnership with multi-ethnic coalitions organized to fight anti-immigrant policies and to increase the supply of affordable housing. Through the Tzedak Institute (a three-day workshop), JCA trains synagogue members and students attending Jewish schools in advocacy and organizing techniques.

II. Synagogue Challenge grants

JFJ provides matching grants to synagogues that participate with community groups or churches in faith-based community organizing groups. A synagogue challenge grant may be used to train synagogue members, cover the membership dues for participation in a faith-based organizing group or coalition, or pay the direct expenses of organizing/ advocacy activities. JFJ synagogue challenge grants will match other funds raised by synagogues up to $2,500.

To be eligible for funding, a project will:

  • Involve the synagogue in organizing and advocating for economic justice with low-income partners on an ongoing basis;

  • Involve synagogue members in activities that extend beyond fundraising, such as leadership training and conducting issue campaigns; and

  • Involve low-income partners directly in the leadership, planning and implementation of the project;

Example: Temple Israel is a member of Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, a local faith-based organizing group. The synagogue is active in GBIO’s campaign to build affordable housing. Temple Israel received a synagogue challenge grant to cover part of the cost of a part-time organizer who will provide training to Temple Israel members and involve them in GBIO’s campaign to win state funding for an affordable housing trust fund. Temple Israel will match JFJ’s synagogue challenge grant with dues income to pay the rest of the organizer’s salary.

For information on how to apply for a synagogue challenge grant, click here.


III. Tzedek Partner matching grants

JFJ will match grants to community-based organizations made by synagogues and day schools that participate in JFJ’s Tzedek Partner Program. Tzedekah contributions must be made to community groups of low and moderate-income residents organizing or advocating against poverty. Classes may choose the recipient organization themselves, or JFJ will help classes select a recipient organization. JFJ will match funds raised by the school up to $500.

Example: The 8th grade students at a suburban Chicago congregation, Oak Park Temple in Oak Park, IL, participated in JFJ's Tzedek Partner Program. Students worked throughout the year with youth who are involved in a neighboring Chicago organization, the South Austin Coalition Community Council, to advocate for better resources for youth in the South Austin community. Oak Park students also raised $650 for youth programming at SACCC. JFJ provoded the matched the funds to SACCC.OUT
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