Grantmaking Guidelines


General Grantmaking Guidelines

Engaging Jews in Social Justice Guidelines

Geographic Area Definitions

Report on Funded Activities (Form for current grantees)


Synagogue Challange Grants

Current Grantees

Past Grantees




Grantmaking Guidelines

The purpose of the Jewish Fund for Justice grantmaking program is to support non-profit organizations working to alleviate the root causes of poverty and the disenfranchisement of low-income people in the United States.

JFJ supports community-based organizing and advocacy that promote leadership development and build community self-sufficiency to strengthen the impact of low-income people on the public debates over issues affecting their lives.

Jewish Fund for Justice Geographical Target Areas:

JFJ only supports groups working in six metropolitan areas—Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington D.C—and five states in the greater South—Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas. For definitions of the six metropolitan areas, CLICK HERE.

There are separate geographic criteria for the Engaging Jews in Social Justice program area; see the supplementary guidelines for details. Also note that the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO), an independent initiative housed at JFJ, funds nationally.

Jewish Fund for Justice Grantmaking Issue Areas:

Economic Justice: Groups in this issue area work to promote economic security and self-sufficiency for low-income people and their communities through campaigns such as building alliances between labor and community groups, organizing living-wage campaigns, advocating for job training and job programs, improving conditions in the workplace, organizing for community reinvestment and against predatory lending, preserving and strengthening public assistance programs, and promoting community economic development.

Women in Poverty: Groups in this issue area fight poverty among economically disadvantaged women, who are disproportionately heads of households, women of color, and immigrants and refugees. JFJ supports groups that are run by and for women, that organize and advocate on issues that directly affect the lives of women and girls, that help women attain economic self-sufficiency, and that provide leadership development, skills training, and support networks.

Investing in Youth: Groups in this issue area use youth organizing strategies to combat economic disadvantage and hopelessness among low-income young people. JFJ supports groups that improve the lives of youth and their communities through youth-developed programs, empower young people to advocate on their own behalf, train them to develop and lead issue campaigns, and mobilize parents and youth to improve public education.

Building Community: Groups in this issue area strengthen low-income communities by bringing residents together into strong multi-issue neighborhood or faith-based organizations. JFJ supports groups that stress long-term institutional development, view issues as a vehicle for training highly-skilled leaders, use relationship-building techniques, and hold decision-makers accountable for meeting democratically-determined demands.

Assisting New Americans: Groups in this issue area organize immigrants and refugees to assert their rights to fair and humane treatment and help them gain a foothold in society. JFJ supports groups that educate newcomers about their rights and how to protect them, develop immigrant leaders, combat anti-immigrant policies and exploitation in the workplace, fight scapegoating and harassment, and promote civic involvement.

Engaging Jews in Social Justice: Groups in this issue area advance local Jewish activism by educating, training, and mobilizing Jews in sustained efforts to combat poverty and injustice. JFJ supports groups that advocate and organize on poverty issues in partnership with groups based in low-income communities and communities of color, bringing a vital Jewish presence to community economic and social justice struggles. Please see the attached supplementary guidelines for more details on grants in this issue area.

To be considered for funding, a program must meet the following criteria:

· It must engage in community organizing and/or grassroots advocacy, defined here as a group of people working collectively to build political and/or economic power in order to pro-actively influence decisions, laws and institutions that affect their lives.
· It must be led by and benefit low-income people.
· It must address the systems, societal values, institutions, laws, or policies that perpetuate poverty.
· It must operate primarily at the local level.
· It must do direct organizing of a low-income constituency.

In addition to the criteria described above, JFJ is interested in programs that:

· Provide the opportunity for JFJ funds to leverage other financial support;
· Direct funding to issues that are not yet attracting substantial financial support from the Jewish community;
· Combine community organizing or grassroots advocacy with complementary strategies such as community development, direct service, and public policy advocacy; and
· Encourage local Jewish social justice activism.
· Work in collaboration with other organizations at the city, state and/or national level.

JFJ often awards grants for general support as well as for special projects from organizations that address the causes of urban or rural poverty in our geographical target areas. Most JFJ grants are between $7,500 and $20,000.

JFJ does not fund research, social services programs that do not have an advocacy or organizing component, capital expenditures, media, or publication projects. JFJ also does not fund national organizations, groups with budgets of $1 million or more, technical assistance providers, or intermediaries. Solicitation of individual Board members is discouraged.


Except for synagogue challenge grants, JFJ DOES NOT ACCEPT UNSOLICITED PROPOSALS. Groups that meet all the following criteria can submit a two-page letter of inquiry:

· The organization is based and working in the metropolitan areas of Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, or Washington D.C., or in the states of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, or Texas.
· The organization’s budget is under $1 million.
· The group engages in community organizing that brings people together to build political power and influence the policies, decisions, laws, or institutions that affect their lives.
· A majority of the members of the board or steering committee that governs the project are low-income.
· The organization operates primarily at the local level.
· The organization directly organizes a low-income constituency (as opposed to serving as an intermediary or coalition of low-income organizations).

The Letter of Inquiry should describe your organization, the work for which you seek funding, and recent victories. If there is any organized Jewish involvement in the work (this is not a requirement), please describe that in the LOI as well. The LOI should not exceed two pages. It should be accompanied by an LOI face sheet. Send the Letter of Inquiry to:

We will send a postcard to acknowledge receipt of your LOI, but are unable to have follow up conversations unless we are actively considering your organization for a grant. Please do not follow up with a phone call or further correspondence.

If you wish to submit a synagogue challenge grant, click here.

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