JOC leaders invited to a think tank convened by the Leichtag Foundation in September 2016, including Ilana Kaufman (top right)
Jews of color in leadership roles invited to a think tank convened by the Leichtag Foundation Sept. 2016, including Jews of Color Initiative executive director Ilana Kaufman (top right)

The Jews of Color Initiative is now its own independent nonprofit organization

The Bay Area-based Jews of Color Initiative is set to become an independent 501(c)3 organization, effective July 1.

Founded in Berkeley as the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative five years ago, the organization has since gained a national profile for its grantmaking, research on the demographics of the American Jewish community, and leadership programs for non-white Jews.

Last year the director Steven Spielberg donated $200,000 to the nonprofit, alongside nine other social justice-oriented organizations.

Ilana Kaufman
Ilana Kaufman

Nonprofit status will allow greater flexibility in fundraising for the organization, executive director Ilana Kaufman said, and the ability “to better serve our grantees, work collaboratively with partner organizations, and more easily engage researchers, consultants and other contractors critical to our work.”

Previously, JoCI solicited private funding, but full nonprofit status opens new doors for the organization.

“We are thrilled to reach this point,” Kaufman added. “It reflects the strength of our organization and our staying power — and is a benchmark we set in our strategic plan years ago. It’s incredibly fulfilling to see this moment come to fruition.”

Supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, the Jim Joseph Foundation, the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation and other donors, the Jews of Color Initiative engages in grantmaking, research and community education to create greater communal awareness of and support for Jews of color.

Resource materials published by JoCI cover such topics as white supremacy, racial justice, embracing Jewish community diversity, and holiday guides.