A Note from Dana Raucher
In April, The Samuel Bronfman Foundation invited post start-up organizations to apply to our Second Stage Fund. This fund was created to provide general operating support to organizations at critical junctures in their growth trajectories as they move into their second stage of development.

We decided to launch this fund to address the increasing need of supporting post-start-ups in the Jewish community. We are long-term deep-impact investors, and as such we have worked with organizations who are thinking strategically about their sustainability. In just this year alone, three of our core grantees are experiencing pivotal moments in their history. In the recently released Through the Prism: Reflections on the Curriculum Initiative, former Executive Director of TCI Adam Gaynor chronicles the organization’s changes and adaptations throughout its sixteen-year history. This report addresses the many shifts the organization took to continue operating under changing conditions while staying true to its mission.

A hallmark of the Foundation, the Bronfman Youth Fellowships, marked a milestone as it celebrated its 25th anniversary in October. When Edgar M. Bronfman first founded BYFI, he was investing in long-term change for the Jewish community. Twenty-five years later, we are proud to witness the BYFI alumni community continuing the investment in the Jewish world, as they continue to tackle the emerging challenges of the Jewish communal sphere.

Another core grantee of ours, MyJewishLearning, Inc., celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Its inaugural website, MyJewishLearning.com is a hub for Jewish informational resources and is achieving new levels of online Jewish community building. MJL, Inc. has grown from just one website to a consortium of websites and blogs, including kveller.com and thejewniverse.com. MJL continues to reach nearly half-a-million unique visitors each month.

As we think about our grantees, we consider what it means for us to be investors in long-term Jewish impact. How can we best support our grantees through these pivotal moments and milestones? It is with this in mind that we announce the recipients of our Second Stage Fund. We understand that this effort alone is only a first step in creating sustainable solutions for this cohort, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with you about how to effectively address the changing needs in the Jewish community.

Dana Raucher
Executive Director


Letter from Dana Raucher

Announcement of the Second Stage Fund Grant Recipients

MyJewishLearning Ten Years Later

BYFI's 25th Anniversary

Daniel Septimus Honored by JCSA

Launch of Through the Prism: Reflections on The Curriculum Initiative

High Holy Days: A time of ethical dialogue with the world at large -Edgar M. Bronfman

Hate Speech Must Not be Accepted as Civil Discourse -Edgar M. Bronfman

Bringing ‘Hevruta’ into the Boardroom -Becky Voorwinde and Mishael Zion

On the Upper West Side, “Shabbat in Exile” -Eric Silver

The Search Process for a New Executive Helps Foundation Achieve Its Mission
-Ariel Groveman Weiner

 ‘If Not Now, When?’ A Response to Gordis’s Criticism of Brous
-Adam Bronfman

A Day Devoted to Gratitude
-Edgar M. Bronfman

Through the Prism: Reflections on The Curriculum Initiative
-Adam Gaynor


Announcment of the Second Stage Fund Grant Recipients
The Samuel Bronfman Foundation launched a Second Stage Fund to help enable post start-ups actualize their transition into the next stage of development. As a Foundation that believes in long-term, deep impact philanthropy, we hoped to specifically address the need of supporting mid-level organizations at critical points in their growth trajectories.

We received 131 applications from organizations that are all thinking about their long term sustainability. We saw a field in which organizations are at varying stages in asking questions about their second stage growth, falling at different points across a spectrum. Ultimately, the fund’s grant recipients were organizations that had not only asked the right questions, but were identifying answers and implementing creative solutions to transition into their second stage of development.

Each of the grant recipients has galvanized its sector, as it addresses a unique need in the Jewish community and offers an alternative way for individuals to connect to their Jewish identity that feels meaningful, authentic and relevant.  These organizations have a proven track record and have cultivated a diverse range of dedicated stakeholders including active participants, highly talented staff, strong professional leadership and a highly invested donor base.

Mechon Hadar
is an educational institution that seeks to empower a generation of Jews to create and sustain vibrant, practicing, egalitarian communities of Torah learning, prayer, and service. Through its  non-hierarchical leadership model of four co-directors, Hadar transcends the vision of one person, enabling it to thrive and achieve impact through collaborative strategic thinking.
Keshet is the leading organization in the U.S. working for LGBT inclusion in all facets of Jewish life. After merging with Jewish Mosaic: The National Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, Keshet has developed into a national organization with local offices in Boston, Denver and San Francisco.
Keshet has succeeded in working closely with strategic partners in the community including parents and individuals, as well as key national institutions
Hazon creates healthy and sustainable communities in the Jewish world and beyond. Hazon is playing a critical leadership role in field-building, working to consolidate likeminded organizations and harness the energy and resources of hundreds of alumni around the country to advance their shared mission.
By merging with the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, Hazon will further consolidate the environmental sector and increase the organization’s impact.

BYFI’s 25th Anniversary
This year marks the silver anniversary of a hallmark grantee of the Foundation, the Bronfman Fellowships (BYFI). Founded 25 years ago by Edgar M. Bronfman, BYFI was an investment in long-term change for the Jewish community. What began as a summer program has turned into a lifelong fellowship, composed of nearly 1,000 alumni from across the globe. BYFI was created with the intent of bringing together young Jews of different affiliations who could learn to speak and listen to one another. This cadre of young Jews represents the ideal of what a thoughtful, informed Jewish community can look like.

In honor of its 25th anniversary, BYFI hosted a weekend of celebrations that included Shabbat dinners and lunches hosted by alumni across New York City, a night of performances, and an alumni professional networking brunch. The weekend celebrated both the history of the Fellowships and its vibrant alumni community. Additionally, both alumni and faculty of BYFI contributed to a journal and wrote a series of articles for eJewish Philanthropy.

Applications to BYFI for summer 2013 are now open.

MyJewishLearning, Ten Years Later
Ten years ago, Edgar M. Bronfman and The Samuel Bronfman Foundation had the goal of creating the most comprehensive and accessible Jewish presence online. We are pleased to celebrate this milestone anniversary for MyJewishLearning, Inc. (MJL). Over the last decade, MJL has become the leading trans-denominational provider of Jewish educational resources online, with three signature projects: myjewishlearning.com, kveller.com, and thejewniverse.com. No longer a single program, MJL now represents a consortium of websites, blogs, and e-newsletters, expanding the brand’s audience and influence. It is an organization that successfully empowers people of all backgrounds to navigate Jewish life with meaning, confidence, and creativity.



Daniel Septimus Receives JCSA Award
At the recent GA in Baltimore, The Jewish Communal Service Association of North America honored MyJewishLearning CEO Daniel Septimus with the JCSA Young Professional Award. Daniel was recognized by the JCSA for his commitment to the Jewish community and his exemplary leadership. We congratulate Daniel on this great honor!

"MyJewishLearning.com is the realization of my dream to make Jewish learning broadly accessible via the internet." -Edgar M. Bronfman
Launch of Through the Prism: Reflections on The Curriculum Initiative
On November 29, the Foundation hosted the launch of Through the Prism: Reflections on The Curriculum Initiative, a report authored by Adam Gaynor, chronicling the organization’s development since its founding in 1994. Speakers Dana Raucher and Adam Gaynor discussed TCI’s growth trajectory as it pioneered a multicultural Jewish educational strategy, while NYU Professor Bethamie Horowitz moderated the event.

You can find more information on Through the Prism: Reflections on The Curriculum Initiative here.
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