JCF raises $22 million in donations, launches study of Bay Area Jews

The S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation raised $22.1 million in philanthropic gifts during its 2015-2016 fiscal year, funds that will provide services and programs focusing on Jewish life locally and internationally.

Danny Grossman

The Federation plans to invest more than $23 million in the Bay Area and global Jewish communities in the coming year through its own programs and direct grants to other organizations — including scholarships for Jewish camps, preschools, day schools and youth Israel trips, senior services, programs for children with special needs and community engagement programs within Israel.

The Federation supports Birthright Israel and PJ Library of the San Francisco region, which sends free Jewish-themed books to children monthly. It is working to launch a teen engagement initiative, and with Hillel International is forming the Campus Initiative on Israel Engagement to counterbalance the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement on college campuses.

Last year, the Federation provided consulting for more than 80 Jewish organizations to increase productivity and impact, and advised leaders at 22 synagogues on leadership, growth and financial sustainability.

“Thanks to a truly communal effort, we are able to holistically support Jewish life in the Bay Area, Israel and globally,” Federation CEO Danny Grossman said.

Steven M. Cohen

The Federation also announced that it is commissioning a large-scale population study of the Bay Area Jewish community that will assess needs and aspects of Jewish life, literacy and engagement.

The Federation’s last such study, released in 2004, did not include the East Bay; the Jewish Federation of the East Bay did its last study in 2011. This will be the first time the entire Bay Area is included in one demographic survey. It will focus on Jewish households in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin, Sonoma, Contra Costa, Alameda, Solano, Napa and Santa Cruz counties.

The study will include the size, geographic distribution, socioeconomic data and social service needs of the Bay Area Jewish population, and will be used by agencies and philanthropists to better serve the community. Led by a team of researchers, the study, titled “A Portrait of Bay Area Jewish Life and Communities,” will begin this year and be released in late 2017.

Steven M. Cohen, a sociologist and research professor at Hebrew Union College and director of the Berman Jewish Policy Archive at Stanford University, will oversee the study. According to Grossman, it will be the first “geographically integrated study of the Bay Area’s Jewish population, and the first to include longitudinal data collection to help track progress toward deepening Jewish engagement over the next decade.”

Also funding the study will be the Jim Joseph Foundation, Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation, Koret Foundation, Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust, Levine-Lent Family Foundation, Lisa & John Pritzker Family Fund, Taube Philanthropies, Sinai Memorial Chapel and individual donors.

“The data will inform and advance the work of the region’s broad array of Jewish institutions, philanthropists, innovators and activists in creating vibrant, diverse, inclusive and secure Jewish communities for years to come,” Grossman said.