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Grants in North America

Russian-Jewish Community Outreach Initiative by The Foundation for Jewish Camp

Russian-Jewish Community Outreach Initiative by The Foundation for Jewish Camp

The Foundation for Jewish Camp unifies and galvanizes the field of Jewish overnight camp and significantly increases the number of children participating in transformative summers at Jewish camp, assuring a vibrant North American Jewish community.

Genesis Philanthropy Group proudly supports the Foundation’s Russian-speaking Jewish Outreach Initiative. The Initiative focuses on expanding camp recruitment efforts in the Russian-speaking Jewish communities across the US, training Russian-speaking camp counselors to serve as role models for campers through the Hadracha Institute, and providing support for camps interested in expanding their RSJ engagement efforts.

In 2014, seven Jewish summer camps were selected to participate in the Initiative based on their proximity to centers of significant Russian-speaking Jewish populations, as well as the camps senior leadership’s commitment to hiring local Russian-speaking camp staff and engaging these populations in culturally-appropriate Jewish programming. Each of the camps received support for targeted outreach to the local Russian-speaking Jewish communities, workshops on improving programming and engagement strategies, as well as funds for additional scholarships to camper families.

In 2015, five selected FJC Incubator camps joined the cohort and received additional consulting help on Russian-speaking camper outreach, staff recruitment and training, as well as program implementation, while adding new components to their marketing, outreach and staffing models.

All of the participating camps took part in the Hadracha Institute program, launched in 2013, which offers a weekend-long training for Russian-speaking Jewish camp staff on basic methodologies of experiential education, curriculum development, as well as provides content in such areas as Jewish and Israeli history, Russian-Jewish heritage, and Jewish text. Additionally, the Hadracha Institute offers a day-long seminar for the participating camps’ senior staff on the topic of engagement and outreach to the Russian-speaking Jewish communities across North America.

Financial support for this program is provided by Genesis Philanthropy Group, Crown Family Philanthropies, Jim Joseph Foundation, Avi Chai Foundation and other generous donors.

Goals and Objectives

  • Create stronger connections between Russian-speaking Jews and the American Jewish community.
  • Increase interest in local Jewish camps among families and children from the Russian-speaking Jewish community.
  • Develop a cadre of Madrichim from the Russian Jewish community that introduce campers to the vibrancy of the Jewish community in general, and Russian Jewish community in particular.

Current Grants

Past Grants