gpg Former-Soviet-Union 1

Grants in the Former Soviet Union

FSU Community Camps

FSU Community Camps

Jewish summer camps are one of the most effective ways to involve children and youth in the Jewish community and to teach them about Jewish culture and traditions.

Since the program was launched, GPG support included development and improvement of educational camp programs and preparatory camp seminars, upgrade of technical capabilities, provision of material supplies for follow-up events and other.

The following categories of community camps benefited from GPG support:

1. Children and youth camps
2. Family Camps

Since the launch of the program in 2009, camps were selected for GPG support based on the following criteria:

  • Session length:

a. at least seven days for summer camps (or five days for pilot family camps)
b. at least five days for the seasonal (autumn-winter) camps.

  • Total number of camp participants:

a. at least 50 (summer camps)
b. at least 40 people (seasonal (autumn-winter) camps).

  • Participants being charged a fee to attend the camp
  • Funding from other donors secured by the camp.
  • Running website or a page in social networks.
  • Existing training program for madrichim (camp counselors).
  • Readiness to include and welcome trainees from other community camps as part of camp’s staff (for the purpose of experiential exchange).
  • Readiness to include and welcome Israeli madrichim as part of camp’s staff.
  • Regular or recurring year-round activities for camp participants.


Since 2009, Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) has supported improvements to the quality and accessibility of several summer camps for school children. Through an open grant competition held in 2009, 17 summer camps for children and families in Russia and Ukraine won financial support from GPG. In 2010, there were 13 winning camp programs, including the art camp Sambation. In 2011 and 2012, GPG gave direct grants to five of the most effective and promising community camping organizations in Russia and Ukraine, as well as one family camp for children with special needs and their parents. In 2013, GPG supported eight camps, including two in the Baltics and Germany. In summer 2014, 10 camps in the FSU and Germany received GPG grants. In summer 2015, seven camps for children and two family camps in the FSU received support. One of the family camps was piloted by Midrasha Tsionit, which decided to create a family camp based on the needs of their growing community, with the inaugural camping season taking place in Georgia in 2015.

In total, since 2009, over 7,000 participants attended community camps in the FSU thanks to support from GPG.


Other community camps in 2015 included:


In parallel, since 2010, GPG and the Jewish Agency for Israel have implemented a joint initiative that sends Israeli madrichim to work in Jewish community summer camps in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Latvia. This project is intended primarily for community camps, most of which have not hosted Israeli madrichim previously. Since 2010, with GPG support, over 190 madrichim worked at community camps in the FSU. In addition to this initiative, in 2015 GPG, supported JAFI in their efforts to develop specialized educational materials for these camps.

GPG is constantly looking for new and innovative ways of developing and improving the educational component of the community summer camps. For example, in 2015 GPG supported a pilot initiative – the “Research Center” – with an eye towards scaling it and making it available to other camps. In its first summer, this program was incorporated into camps in Riga and Samara, and included two and three-day components dedicated to Jewish law, Jewish philosophy, Torah and Israel. Participants at both camps enjoyed the initiative and expressed interest in further participation in the future.

Camps supported by GPG also receive funding from the JDC, UJA-Federation of New York as well as a number of other Jewish Federations of North America, Jewish Agency for Israel, Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Russian Jewish Congress, ICHEIC Fund, and other generous organizations and private donors.

Current Grants

Past Grants