Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta Ignites Innovation Through $100,000 in Grants to Leaders & Organizations Boldly Shaping Jewish Life

Staff Report

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

As part of Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s (Federation) continued commitment to adapting and strengthening the Jewish community through innovation, the non-profit organization recently announced $100,000 in Propel Innovation Grants, an innovation fund for organizations, ideas and people reimagining Jewish life in Atlanta. Since 2019, Federation Innovation has awarded $500,000 to ignite innovation in the Jewish community and build innovation capacity across the ecosystem.  

The grants come at a critical time and invest in solutions to ensure Atlanta’s Jewish community continues to thrive in the face of the pandemic. That includes support for organizations providing human services by supporting families facing infertility challenges; enhancing Jewish culture by capturing this existential moment in history through the power of film; promoting racial awareness through increased access to diversity training workshops and educational resources to create greater awareness of racial and ethnic diversity; and supporting religious life through meaningful retreats to cultivate Jewish communal life.

Innovation has been a driving force in adapting Jewish communal life in Atlanta for decades; it will continue to be essential to helping Jewish Atlanta forge an even stronger path ahead and rebuild for resilience in a COVID reality,” says Jodi Mansbach, chief impact officer, Federation. “Federation Innovation supports new ideas for how people can live Jewishly in Atlanta and engage with the community, whether that’s providing new support services or reimagining the way Jews connect with each other in the community or this new world we live in.” 

Earlier this summer, Federation Innovation awarded $182,000 in Propel Innovation Renewal Grants. Due to COVID-19, they delayed their new grant process to best assess the new needs of the community and current innovation grantees and best leverage the community’s innovation funding to rebuild a resilient community. The recent awards are the second round of funding in what Federation Innovation envisions to be a three-phased approach. They plan to seek additional innovative models and partnerships again later this year to continue to drive the innovative rebuilding of Atlanta’s Jewish community in a rapidly changing world.

“The Propel Innovation Grant helps launch transformative, creative and scalable projects that can impact Jewish life,” says Jori Mendel, vice president, Federation Innovation. “Our goal is to support the bold work of these grant recipients in an exponential manner and bring leaders and organizations with creative ideas and innovative solutions together to guide us as we stand at the precipice of opportunity for Jewish Atlanta. We must invest in the people who work in this field like never before.” 

For nearly a decade, Federation has grown innovation for the Atlanta Jewish community, funded 50 diverse organizations and initiatives, and built infrastructure to enable creative minds to learn from and with each other. Examples have included community partner networks to support enhanced teen programming; the development of new education models to support children and families; and a vibrant NextGen community that have proven particularly helpful during the pandemic.  

The 2020 Propel recipients include organizations and entrepreneurs serving a diverse community of Jews and whose efforts are meeting the evolving needs of the community. The four recipients of the 2020 Propel Innovation Grants include:

Jewish Atlanta during COVID-19 film (Entrepreneur)

This film will highlight and document the unique history of the Jewish community in Atlanta during COVID-19 times. It will explore Atlanta's Jewish community during this unprecedented time, while also promoting Atlanta to communities around the world. The film will be created in collaboration with The Breman Museum.

Be’chol Lason (Passport to Peoplehood)

Atlanta’s Jewish community is diverse and increasingly so, but our legacy institutions struggle to address and serve Jews of color. Be’chol Lashon, which means in “every language,” will offer diversity training workshops and educational resources to create greater awareness of racial and ethnic diversity in Atlanta’s Jewish Community. The goal is to provide the tools for organizations to fulfill their mission of being more inclusive. Diverse trainers will facilitate community conversations about race and identity in a Jewish context, followed up by personal consultations.

Jewish Fertility Foundation (Modern Jewish Family)

The Jewish Fertility Foundation (JFF) provides financial assistance, educational awareness, and emotional support to Atlanta Jews who have medical infertility. The Propel grant will support the organization’s support for an increasing number of single moms by choice and an increase in multi-faith couples utilizing JFF’s emotional support services and receiving JFF Fertility Grants 

Trybal Gatherings (Entrepreneur)

This grant will help expand Trybal’s core program, a four-day, three-night camp experience that provides a socially Jewish environment for millennials to have fun, connect with new people, and plug into a dynamic Jewish community during a purposeful Shabbat retreat. This retreat is designed to serve as a grassroots entry point to Jewish communal life and represents a major opportunity for Jewish millennial engagement.