Big grant will help preschool program expand

The S.F-based Jewish Community Federation has been awarded a $1.75 million grant for an early childhood initiative that helps Bay Area Jewish schools broaden their Jewish curricula.

The grant, from the S.F.-based Jim Joseph Foundation, will be used to grow the Early Childhood Education Initiative, a program that launched in 2011 at five Bay Area Jewish preschools. Aiming to engage youngsters and families during and after preschool years, the program will expand to 10 additional schools.

Jim Offel, interim CEO of the federation, noted that “more local schools will be resourced and supported to engage families in a vibrant Jewish communal life.”

The expansion of the initiative will draw on the model used in the pilot program, which includes a mentoring component and sharing of materials between schools. In addition to the Jim Joseph grant, the federation will contribute $512,000 over the next three years.

Currently involved in the early childhood initiative are Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, Temple Sinai in Oakland, Chai Preschool in Foster City and the Jewish Community Centers in San Rafael and Palo Alto.