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Jim Joseph Foundation Invests in BBYO's Platform for Jewish Educators

November 7, 2011

Initial Grant of $1.9 Million Dollars Propels Jewish Education to a Top Priority of Largest Jewish Teen Movement

Upon the launch of a new strategic plan for BBYO, Inc., the largest pluralistic Jewish teen movement, the Jim Joseph Foundation of San Francisco announced that it will grant $1.9 million over three years to fund three new Jewish enrichment positions for the organization that currently reaches more than 31,000 teens annually. This partnership will enable BBYO to deepen the Jewish experiential learning offered to its teen-led community and prepare Jewish teens for a lifetime of Jewish involvement.

“Research has proven that Israel trips, summer specialty camps, and youth groups have a powerful impact on teens, and BBYO is a leader in all three of these areas,” said Al Levitt, Chair of the Jim Joseph Foundation Board of Directors. “Providing BBYO the opportunity to expand on its program excellence through an infusion of talented Jewish educators is a win for the entire Jewish community.”

Operating as an independent organization for the past ten years, BBYO has grown to become the Jewish community’s largest year-round platform for reaching Jewish teens in North America. This success has fueled the launch of a new five year strategic plan with a key focus on strengthening the Judaic experiences being delivered to the teen audience by creating positions for Directors of Jewish Enrichment. The new professionals will be dispersed in key geographic hubs and will be networked together as a dynamic team of educational entrepreneurs. They will be given the opportunity to work with teen leaders, volunteer adult advisors and program professionals to impact programming from local and regional events to international travel programs.

“This is an exciting moment for BBYO’s teen leaders,” said Oz Fishman, Teen President of AZA (BBYO’s leadership program for males). “We have more resources than ever before to engage our peers through the kind of programming that opens their minds to the meaning that can be found in a life enriched by our Jewish teachings and traditions.”

This commitment by the Jim Joseph Foundation comes on the heels of the release of BBYO’s Impact Study revealing that the BBYO experience results in young adults who are more inclined to have Jewish friends, believe that being Jewish plays an important role in their lives, hold leadership roles in their community and are committed to having Jewish families.

“BBYO has a new five year strategic plan to reverse the trend of disaffiliation among Jewish youth – especially post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah,” said Estee Portnoy, Chair of the BBYO Board of Directors. “It is clear that teens yearn for ways to stay connected to Judaism despite their busy lives. BBYO’s new Directors of Jewish Enrichment will provide that connection, making Judaism accessible and relevant to the lives of today’s teens.”

The Jim Joseph Foundation has a proven track record of investing in Jewish professionals, including the creation and implementation of BBYO’s Professional Development Institute (PDI), which provides fully-funded MBAs from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and degrees in Informal Jewish Education from Hebrew College in Boston to talented BBYO professionals. PDI graduates have instilled an institutional curiosity and desire to apply theory and new ideas to BBYO programs, opening the door to new creative content that will be continued through the work of the Directors of Jewish Enrichment.

“The Jim Joseph Foundation is the Jewish community’s funding leader in developing and deploying high performing Jewish educators,” said Matthew Grossman, BBYO’s Executive Director. “Through our continued partnership, BBYO will serve as a pipeline for a new generation of Jewish professionals whose impact will be felt for decades.”

For more information on the Director of Jewish Enrichment positions, or to apply, please visit For a copy of BBYO’s Impact Study, please visit

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