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Jim Joseph Foundation Awards Major Grant to BBYO

April 1, 2007

Partners with Leading Jewish Teen Movement to Address Critical Issue in Jewish Community; Makes Initial Investment of up to $2.5 Million to Fund Professional Development Initiative

With a goal of addressing one of the Jewish community's most pressing issues, the Jim Joseph Foundation has just awarded BBYO, the world's leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement, up to $2.5 million to implement a major professional leadership development initiative.

"Since assembling our new board and completing our strategic planning, the Jim Joseph Foundation has sought bold projects that educate young Jews and strengthen the Jewish community's professional ranks," said Al Levitt, the Foundation's President. "This project will accelerate BBYO's efforts to involve more Jewish teens in meaningful Jewish experiences while instituting a professional development program that will add value to the entire Jewish community."

"We are delighted that the Jim Joseph Foundation recognized BBYO's potential to add significant value to Jewish communal life," said Lynn Schusterman, Chair of the BBYO, Inc. International Board of Trustees.

Through this initiative, BBYO will offer select high-caliber professionals a dual-track program which will prepare them for senior leadership positions in BBYO and the Jewish community. The academic track will provide participants with a master's degree in business. A Jewish learning track, featuring educational experiences taught by leading educators in North America and Israel, will strengthen their proficiency in Jewish education. The program will be implemented over a three-year period and will run concurrent with participants' BBYO employment throughout the country.

The initial phase of the grant is intended for planning purposes. Over the next several months, BBYO will form a partnership with a degree-granting institution, put into place a substantive mentoring program of seasoned Jewish professionals and identify Jewish educational experiences designed to further the Jewish skill set and personal engagement in Jewish life for each participant.

"The Jim Joseph Foundation recognizes the magnitude and potential of this undertaking," said Howard Wohl, Chair of the BBYO, Inc. Board of Directors. "We are extraordinarily grateful to the Foundation for its collaborative efforts in making this initiative succeed."

The program, provided at no cost to the participant, will be available to current and incoming BBYO professionals who qualify. It is expected that cohorts of up to 20 will be created each year with an initial cohort starting the program during the summer of 2008.

"Not only is this a unique professional development opportunity for the participant," said Marc Saperstein, Chair of BBYO's Human Resources Committee and former Senior Vice President for Human Resources at NBC Universal, "but it will also allow BBYO to increase employee retention rates and recruit exceptional job candidates."

According to Dr. Chip Edelsberg, Executive Director of the Jim Joseph Foundation, BBYO is especially well-positioned to achieve success with this initiative due to its ability to recruit from its impressive database of alumni, some 250,000 strong; adapt a for-profit model and capitalize on its own resources to initiate annual salary increases aimed at improving retention; and provide a flexible work schedule conducive to the pursuit of concurrent academic and professional tracks.

"BBYO's brand carries with it decades of tradition and name recognition," explained Dr. Edelsberg. "Its alumni are some of the Jewish community's strongest leaders, and BBYO's recent investment in technology and professional leadership position it for serious growth over the next five years. This initiative is designed to strengthen BBYO organizationally, and we hope it will enable BBYO to reach its goal of engaging 50,000 teens annually in Jewish life."

The uniqueness of the program lies in the fact that professionals will develop two different but complementary skill sets – management and Judaic knowledge – with immediate opportunity to put them into practice.

"This initiative will set the new standard for professional development within the Jewish community,'" said Sandy Cardin, President of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. "BBYO has designed a program with enough appeal to rival corporate packages and strategic enough to make an indelible impact on the Jewish communal field."

"We are thrilled to be collaborating with the Jim Joseph Foundation on this critical endeavor," said Grossman. "We are confident that it will result in high-achieving professionals who will help move BBYO toward its mission of reaching more Jewish teens with more meaningful Jewish experiences, and more important, serve as a launching pad for them to have highly successful careers as Jewish communal professionals."


BBYO is the leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. For more than 80 years, AZA and BBG chapters in communities around the world have been providing exceptional leadership programs and identity enrichment experiences, shaping the lives of 250,000 alumni who are among the most prominent figures in business, politics, academia, the arts and Jewish communal life. Now, more than ever, BBYO offers unique opportunities for teens to connect with one another, serve their communities, navigate the college admissions process and travel the world, providing each participant with a network of lifelong friends, a perspective which adds value and meaning to life and a shared commitment to strengthening the Jewish future.

The Jim Joseph Foundation, established in 2006, is committed to a sustained program of grant making in pursuit of a vision that leads to ever-increasing numbers of young Jews engaged in ongoing Jewish learning choosing to live vibrant Jewish lives. The Foundation manages in excess of half-a-billion dollars, using all of its resources to foster compelling, effective Jewish learning for young Jews in the United States.

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