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Posted February 13, 2017
Request for Proposals: Grants for Initiatives for Russian-Speaking Jews (RSJ)
The Natan Fund inspires philanthropists to engage actively in Jewish giving by funding innovative initiatives that are shaping the Jewish future. Natan members pool their funds and bear the risks involved with supporting new and/or undiscovered ideas. They engage in a group educational process in order to fund innovative, creative, and socially meaningful initiatives, and they make all of Natan’s grant decisions collectively.
Natan’s Grants for Initiatives for Russian-Speaking Jews will support initiatives that are using innovative approaches to build Jewish community and strengthen Jewish life among Russian-speaking Jews in North America, especially for those who are not currently engaged in Jewish communal life. Natan also seeks to empower new leadership in the RSJ community by supporting initiatives that encourage participants to become active agents of change within their own communities.
Organizations supported through this grant program might include:
- innovative platforms that explore the many facets of Jewish civilization, ritual, and life cycles in contemporary ways, especially new ways of integrating Jewish wisdom, traditions and experience with “secular” endeavors (e.g. arts and culture, environment and food, inclusion of marginalized populations, new technologies, etc.);
- new educational platforms and community-building efforts that aim to transmit Jewish wisdom, knowledge, and/or values, especially to those not currently engaged in Jewish life;
- platforms that build and create connections between Jews across geographic, ethnic, denominational, and/or ideological borders, or within specific demographic/age ranges and across generations
In the spirit of “venture philanthropy,” Natan is especially interested in supporting startups and fledgling organizations that have not yet received significant support from major funders and that are independent from larger institutions and organizational structures. Natan seeks to catalyze and support innovation that begins on the margins of the Jewish organizational world; thus local affiliates of national organizations and organizations with strong brands and/or long track records in the Jewish communal world are unlikely to be funded. Ideal grantees will also take a pluralist, “big tent” approach to Jewish life, welcoming diverse viewpoints and traditionally marginalized populations.
Natan is also seeking to support organizations that are focused as much on developing adaptable and replicable new models as they are on their own organizational needs, with the goal of generating systemic change for the Jewish people. While Natan will support initiatives with a local focus, such initiatives should manifest a unique approach that could be replicated in other communities, a vision for broad scale change, exceptional leadership, and/or a desire to scale up beyond the local community in the near future.
Please also be advised that, while Natan has funded arts and culture projects in the past, our focus is in utilizing arts and culture as an instrument for strengthening Jewish identity, and not on funding artistic endeavors in and of themselves. Before applying for a grant to support an arts or cultural project, make sure that you are able to discuss your educational and identity-building goals for the project in detail, and that (especially if your project is a film or other cultural product) your project is 100% not-for-profit.
Natan invites applications for its 2017-2018 RSJ grants from North America-based organizations with annual operating budgets of $1.5 million or less. Applicants must be recognized as a tax-exempt organization under the appropriate sections of the United States or Canadian tax code or have a fiscal sponsor with such standing.
Organizations may apply for one-year grants of up to US$50,000, though most grant awards are in the $10,000 - $30,000 range. Grant recipients have the opportunity to apply for renewals beyond the initial year of funding, and while not guaranteed, Natan endeavors to renew grants for at least three years. Multi-year grants, however, cannot be considered.
This grant program will not support scholarships or grants to individuals.
The grant year for Natan’s RSJ Grants is July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018. The first payment (for 2/3 of the total grant award) will be made upon receipt of a signed grant agreement, and the last payment (for the remaining 1/3 of the grant award) will be made upon review of a final report. Grantees will also be required to submit a mid-year report halfway through the grant year.
1. Applications must be received by 5pm ET on March 8, 2017.
2. Natan will choose finalists by end of April 2017.
3. Finalists will be invited to make a presentation to Natan’s RSJ Grants Committee by video or in person in May or June 2017.
4. Final decisions will be announced by July 2017. How to Apply through Amplifier: 1. Go to www.amplifiergiving.org 2. If you’re a current user of Amplifier, log-in with your username and password; proceed to step 4. If you’re a new user, click “Join Amplifier” in the upper right hand corner of the website. 3. Create your organization/initiative profile and fill out the common grant application.
4. Click “opportunity” on the top of the screen and select the Natan opportunity for which you are applying.
5. Click “apply for the opportunity”.
6. Fill out the application including any custom questions.
7. Please notethat you cannot save and resume your answers. We recommend you download the opportunity and prepare your answers in a separate document before submitting through Amplifier.
8. Click “apply” and wait for confirmation that your application has been submitted.
Natan is grateful to the Genesis Philanthropy Group for matching a portion of the RSJ committee members’ contributions. Genesis Philanthropy Group is a private foundation with the mission of developing and enhancing a sense of Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide. More information on www.gpg.org.
All questions about Natan’s RSJ Grants should be directed to [email protected]
(Photo credit: Natan Fund Facebook page)