3 Bay Area organizations receive Covenant grants

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

The Covenant Foundation has announced $1.6 million in new grants supporting organizations and initiatives with potential to “catalyze local and nationwide impact in Jewish education.”

Three grantees are located in the S.F. Bay Area: Brandeis Marin School, G-dcast and Be’chol Lashon.

The new grants to be disbursed this year reach across the spectrum of Jewish educational venues — from museums and synagogues, to high-tech classrooms and summer camps — and underscore commitment to innovation and ideas redefining the scope, reach and depth of Jewish education, the New York-based foundation said in a press release.

Brandeis Marin students work on a project as science teacher Rick Seymour looks on.

“We are going where bold ideas and dogged implementation reside,” said Eli N. Evans, board chair of the Covenant Foundation. “These new grantees hold great promise for success, and are positioned to be change makers and models of creativity.”

Foundation grants are divided into two categories:  Signature grants, which provide funding for up to $250,000 for up to five years, and Ignition grants of up to $20,000 for one year to support new and untested approaches.

Brandeis Marin in San Rafael will receive a Signature grant of $150,000 over three years to support creation of a Jewish studies curriculum that is integrated with a “maker’s” program and core academics. Brandeis Marin was one of only two schools in the country to receive a Covenant grant.

G-dcast was also awarded a Signature grant: The S.F.-based organization will receive $50,000 over one year to train a national cadre of educators and b’nai mitzvah students to use animation as a tool for Jewish text study.

Among Ignition grantees, Be’chol Lashon in San Francisco was awarded $20,000 over one year to develop and expand the reach of its “Passport to Peoplehood” program. According to Be’chol Lashon’s website, the program “focuses on experiential activities — art, dance, music, and cooking — exposing students to global Jewish traditions and communities. The program highlights inclusion, diversity and personal identity as hallmarks of Judaism.”

Elsewhere in California, the Graduate Center for Jewish Education at American Jewish University in Los Angeles will receive $100,000 over two years for Dream Lab, an initiative cultivating “creative Jewish education” as a field.

The new round of grants, announced Jan. 6, will go to a range of programs — from “DIY: Design Identify Yourself,” for young adults at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Washington, D.C.; to the Center for Pastoral Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, for a training program for future congregational leaders; to Abundance Farm in Northhampton, Massachusetts, for integrating farm-based experience into Jewish education.

“Those in Jewish education have great visions for now and the future,” said Harlene Winnick Appelman, executive director of the foundation. “We welcome the opportunity to dream with these impressive practitioners in the field and help them turn these visions into reality.”

Since 1991, the foundation has provided more than $28 million to develop and support Jewish education and community-building projects and programs in North America.

The Covenant Foundation is currently inviting 2016 Signature and Ignition grant applications. Applicants should visit www.covenantfn.org/grants for information and guidelines.  The deadline for submitting an initial letter of inquiry is Feb. 25.