Jewish Federations incorporate the Jewish Teen Funder Collaborative

Jewish Federations of North America incorporate the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative 

The Funder Collaborative will spread program models and effective engagement strategies from ten initiatives to communities across the country

The Jewish Federations of North America are proud to welcome the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative under their umbrella, a move that will help support flourishing Jewish communities across North America.

The Funder Collaborative, an initiative that was launched in 2013 to spur local and national philanthropic innovation in teen engagement, facilitates community-based programs to engage Jewish teens, educate parents and youth professionals, and provide mental health and wellness programs for the whole community.

“We are excited to help further develop and share the many lessons and resources emanating from the Funder Collaborative, which can be applied to a diverse set of demographics beyond teenagers,” said Shira Hutt, Executive Vice President of the Jewish Federations of North America. “The Funder collaborative is another great example of the dynamic community-building work that Jewish Federations are involved in and we are excited to help expand its reach towards fostering  innovative approaches that bolster Jewish life.”

“Jewish Federations are in the business of finding innovative ways to make Jewish communities flourish, and that’s exactly what the Funder Collaborative is all about,” added Mark Wilf, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Jewish Federations of North America. “Engaging the younger generation is crucial to securing the future of the Jewish people, which is why this work is so important”

By incorporating the Funder Collaborative, the Jewish Federations of North America will help give every Jewish community across North America access to its data and learnings, and provide resources to communities seeking to broaden their offerings.

“The Jewish Federations provide us a platform to share the most impactful program and initiative models with communities around the country,” said Sara Allen, Executive Director of the Funder Collaborative. “We cannot wait to see the network of teen initiatives sharing resources and knowledge expand even more, and are grateful to have found a partner that will help us achieve even greater impact nationwide.”

The Funder Collaborative was developed in 2013 with the support of the Jim Joseph Foundation to meet the ambitious goal of drastically increasing and diversifying teen engagement in Jewish life. 

Since its inception, the 10 communities that comprise the Funder Collaborative (Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver/Boulder, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, and San Francisco) seeded and developed new approaches to engage teens, their families, and their educators. 

“The growth, evolution, and outcomes of the Funder Collaborative are a result of talented leaders and educators committed to creating meaningful Jewish learning and engagement for teens,” added Barry Finestone, President and CEO of the Jim Joseph Foundation, which provided matching grants to the ten initial communities in the Funder Collaborative. “The Federation system will elevate the Funder Collaborative’s important work and will help ensure its long-lasting legacy and impact.”

Federations are the primary home and lead funding partner in eight of the 10 communities, creating a communal hub for all youth professionals locally.

The communities in the Funder Collaborative experiment with almost every aspect of teen engagement, asking questions such as how to find new teens to engage, what parents and educators need to help teens, and how to sustainably change local landscapes of programmatic offerings.

While the Funder Collaborative developed a common set of measures of success and tools to understand if goals are being reached, each community developed their initiatives geared toward their local families and needs.

“Over the last five years, Baltimore’s Jewish teen initiative, 4Front, has seeded innovative programs for teens, their parents and youth professionals, while fostering a culture of collaboration among organizations serving Jewish teens in Baltimore,” said Marc B. Terrill, President of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore. “Our participation in the Funder Collaborative has strengthened this work – helping us to measure our impact, leverage national resources and connect with an invaluable network of colleagues. Seeing this platform expand to more communities is an exciting development for the next generation of Jewish leaders."

The initiatives engage communities through internship and immersive travel programs, mental health and wellness efforts, as well as professional development and support for youth-serving organizations. Its programs include a virtual “road trip to college” to make the college selection and admissions process more accessible, a tech-focused professional development effort, and an annual campaign to bolster Mental Health Awareness Month each May.

The Funder Collaborative and Jewish Federations also partnered on Youth Mental Health First Aid Training, which helped thousands of professionals gain the skills and tools to support teens at a time when mental health challenges among that cohort are greater than ever.