Fund offers grants to spark innovation
The Jewish Federation of Monmouth County recently announced $26,000 in seed money to help support activities ranging from a scholar-in-residence program, to a museum exhibit, to a home revitalization effort.
The 14 recipients applied for grants through the federation’s adVenture Fund, which serves as an incubator for innovative Jewish programs in Monmouth County.
“The charter of the adVenture Fund is to inspire individuals, groups, and Jewish institutions in Monmouth County to create new programs or improve existing programs that will enrich Jewish life,” said federation executive director Keith Krivitzky.
“The fund is modeled after a venture capital or angel investor fund that invests in new and exciting projects but does not necessarily cover the entire budget of a new program or idea.”
The adVenture Fund is in its third year.
“We had so many excellent proposals to consider that it was difficult deciding how to put our relatively small pool of dollars to best use,” said Beth Krinsky, cochair of the fund committee. “Ultimately, we envisioned the grants we made uncovering and inspiring new energy and innovation across the entire community for people of many different interests, needs, and stages of life.”
Seven of the 2014 grants address youth programming, three deal with community relations, and two were aimed at caregiver support. There was an award for a High Holy Day program and another targeting young adults with special needs. Among the recipients:
Center for Pastoral Care and Counseling’s Walking the Bereavement Journey: You Are Not Alone ($2,500): The program, which operates at Temple Rodeph Torah in Marlboro, is a free service available to the entire community. Rabbi Shira Stern, a certified pastoral counselor, doctor of ministry, and board-certified chaplain, started the program a year ago without outside funding.
Born to One: Home Revitalization Initiative ($1,500): Also being conducted at TRT in Marlboro, the program revitalizes the homes of families facing financial setbacks, health issues, and other disruptions. “Whatever the reason, the look of the house stigmatizes the family,” said TRT president Larry Rosen. “We want to approach homeowners in a discreet and respectful manner and volunteer to spruce up the exterior. We plan to use the funds from federation to purchase needed tools and supplies.”
Three grants went to youth programs associated with Temple Shaari Emeth in Manalapan:
Retreat at Camp Harlam ($2,000): for eighth- and ninth-graders, Nov. 21-23 in Kunkletown, Pa. The program also involves youth from Temple Shalom in Aberdeen, Monmouth Reform Temple in Tinton Falls, Temple Beth Miriam in Elberon, and Temple Beth-El in Hillsborough. “The idea is to expose kids throughout the area to a broader network,” said Shaari Emeth’s Rabbi Melinda Panken.
Taste of NFTY ($2,000): Aimed at pre-b’nei mitzva youngsters in sixth and seventh grades, the one-day Jan. 17 program at Shaari Emeth is intended to give a preview of “what Jewish youth groups are all about,” said Panken.
Parent and Me: Watch Me Grow ($2,000): Offered in 12-week sessions on Friday mornings at Shaari Emeth, the program is for toddlers between 18 and 24 months and their parents. “The old standard time for starting a Jewish education was third grade, but now we’re trying to involve families much earlier,” said Jayne Lieberman, who heads up Shaari Emeth’s Early Learning Center.
Other adVenture Fund grants:
• Congregation Kol Am, Freehold: Scholar-in-Residence Weekend ($2,000)
• Jewish Heritage Museum, Freehold: The Jewish Journey — Jersey Homesteads to Roosevelt, NJ ($1,500)
• Center for Jewish Life, Marlboro: High Holiday Juniors ($500)
• Congregation Torat El, Oakhurst: Caregiver Support Group ($2,500)
• Chabad of Western Monmouth County, Manalapan: Mitzva for Israel ($3,000)
• Hillel Yeshiva, Ocean Township: Leadership Academy ($2,000)
• Monmouth Reform Temple, Tinton Falls: Camp Olami ($1,000)
• Temple Beth Ahm, Aberdeen: Religious School Community Music Program ($2,000)
• Friendship Circle, Manalapan: Friendship Bakery ($3,000)