Jewish Federation of Ottawa announces new microgrants and Jewish Jumpstart

Jewish Federation of Ottawa announces new microgrants and Jewish Jumpstart membership incentives

By Kevin Barwin, Chair, Grants and Evaluation Committee, Jewish Federation of Ottawa

Generous donations to the 2019 Annual Campaign have paved the way for the Jewish Federation of Ottawa to offer exciting, new strategic funding opportunities for our community agencies. During the past few months, the Grants and Evaluations Committee has worked closely and tirelessly with Federation staff to implement new processes in order to distribute these dollars to our community in an equitable and timely manner.

Thanks to new and increased gifts, plus a generous matching fund, we now have $1 million in fresh funding available to the community. This “strategic funding” does not change the regular operational allocation that Federation provides to agencies on a two-year basis. Strategic funds are over and above the two-year allocation, and are designed to have maximum impact on the four key priority areas set by Federation: Jewish education, Jewish experiences, care for the vulnerable, and security.

Strategic funding presents an amazing opportunity for our volunteer committee, which consists of 12 people from various backgrounds, representing a cross-section of our community. We often say that Grants and Evaluations is one of the most interesting volunteer roles in Federation because, through annual meetings with funded agencies and the grant application process, this committee gets to see first-hand the amazing and diverse work of Jewish Ottawa. Our challenge is, of course, to select the initiatives and programs that best align with our community needs and priorities and those that will have the greatest measurable impact.

We are very pleased to report that the rollout of new funding has already begun. The first recipient program, Jewish Experience Microgrants, was approved in April. This program offers grants of up to $2,500 for events, projects, and initiatives that bring us together in Jewish life. Anyone in the community can apply at any time throughout the year. Also in the area of Jewish experiences, Federation has launched Jewish Jumpstart. This is an incentive grant for unaffiliated individuals and families to join the Soloway Jewish Community Centre and Ottawa’s Jewish congregations.

Jewish education is another key area of focus for strategic funding. Our two community day schools will see funding increase by almost 40 per cent through strategic grants. These dollars are intended for specific, one-time activities that will help the schools improve financial sustainability, provide excellence in education, and undertake collaborative projects that benefit both schools. In addition, there is $25,000 for special education projects, in addition to the $50,000 raised in summer 2018. Applications are now open and funds will be allocated to projects in time for the 2019-2020 school year.

To help offset the costs of the significant security needs in our community, a matching grant for the Federal Security Infrastructure Program has been put in place in time for the next round of applications in July. We have $50,000 in this fund to share among successful applicants.

In winter 2020, the Jewish Journeys fund will be added to funds for Jewish Experiences. A grant from this fund is renewable for three years and will be available to organizations to arrange meaningful Jewish programs.

Finally, in spring 2020, a significant portion of strategic funding – $240,000 – will be allocated to grants that help to care for the vulnerable in our community.

These new strategic funds, together with the Innovative Fund for Capacity Building, have greatly increased the Grants committee’s ability to support Ottawa’s Jewish community. We are excited about the potential impact of these new funds and look forward to sharing the success stories of these projects with you in the coming months.

For more information on these strategic funding opportunities, contact Kara Goodwin, Federation director of Community Collaboration, at 613-798-4696, ext. 200, or