2017 Funding Opportunities

As the central address for philanthropy in Milwaukee’s Jewish community, the Jewish Community Foundation is pleased to present our donors with funding opportunities from our Milwaukee Jewish Federation programs and partner agencies.

If you are interested in helping to fully or partially fund any of these requests, Donor Advised Fund holders can submit their requests online through DonorCentral. You can also email or call Senior Endowment Associate Jen Vettrus at 414-390-5722.

Bader Hillel Academy
BBYO Wisconsin Region
Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center
Hillel Foundation University of Wisconsin-Madison
Hillel Milwaukee
Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee
Jewish Beginnings Lubavitch Preschool
Jewish Family Services
Jewish Home & Care Center
Jewish Museum Milwaukee
Milwaukee Jewish Day School
Coalition for Jewish Learning
Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center
Jewish Community Relations Council
Yeshiva Elementary School

Bader Hillel Academy

Arts and Music Program

We are seeking $5,000 to purchase supplies and materials to supplement our art program, and $3,000 for a Smart Project for our art room. Our art teacher, Mrs. Redlich, is a well-known artist in the Milwaukee community. Under her guidance our students have been creating some truly incredible art work. They have been honing and refining their skills, but are often limited by the lack of supplies and access to materials for their art pieces. We have also had several opportunities throughout the year to bring in guest artists or work on collaborative projects with other community groups. We would love to focus our partnerships to create larger installation-type artwork to beautify our campus and shared areas of our school but we lack the funding to undertake such a project. As our pool of talent and student abilities grow, we desperately need funds to continue to grow our art program.

Request Amount: $8,000

Stem and Robotics Program

To meet our growing student population, we are seeking $10,000 as part of our efforts to expand and increase our dedication to STEM and the use of robotics and technology within our science and mathematics classrooms. This includes both preparatory work with our younger grade levels with the majority of the focus dedicated to the enhancement and deepening of technology use in our middle school. We are expanding our curriculum in the middle school to include engineering, and a greater use of technology. We will be using this focus to also engage our students more deeply with the Milwaukee community, through guest-instructors and lecturers, participation in competitions with other schools and collaboration with other non-profits and groups.

Request Amount: $10,000

BBYO Wisconsin Region

Arts and Music Program

BBYO Wisconsin Region’s most important pipeline for growth is our BBYO Connect program. BBYO Connect is focused on giving Jewish 6-8th  graders from all over the city a chance to meet each other and have fun. We coordinate programing 5-6 times a year –  everything from Bucks games to snowtubing to a day of service.  The average attendance is 20 teens, with about 100 participating throughout the year. There is no membership fee to attend a BBYO Connect program. We seek funding to help cover the costs of the program.

Request Amount: $5,000

Oneg Shabbat Celebration

For over 20 years, BBYO offers a weekly Oneg Shabbat celebration for its members.  At 3:15pm on Friday afternoons, BBYO provides snacks and offers an opportunity for Jewish teens to socialize and begin Shabbat together.  Consistently there are up to 80 participants.  Underwriting for this program allows for this community building Jewish experience to be free to all Milwaukee Area Jewish Teens. This year we did not receive that funding and are looking for funding to help keep the program running and free to teens.  BBYO’s Oneg is a staple of BBYO life in Milwaukee.

Request Amount: $3,000

Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center

Albert & Ann Deshur JCC Rainbow Day Camp: “Road to Rainbow” Inclusionary CIT Program

Rainbow Day Camp’s inclusionary “Road to Rainbow” program brings City of Milwaukee children to experience all the enriching activities that our camp in Fredonia has to offer, at no cost. Working with our existing “Road to Rainbow” partners (Journey House, United Community Center, Henry David Thoreau School), RDC’s new Counselor-In-Training (CIT) program will offer 24 teens (ages 16-17) a paid, supervised summer employment experience, where they’ll learn how to lead others, work as a team, problem-solve and gain cross-cultural understanding, all while enjoying camp activities. We will join six young people from the Milwaukee suburbs with six young people from the city, working together over four weeks. (Two groups of 12 will have this opportunity, in two sessions.) CITs will be paid minimum wage for five hours each day, five days per week. This makes this program even more desirable for this demographic, as they often struggle to find employment over the summer.  Once these CITs reach age 18—assuming they have met success criteria—they will be top candidates for employment at RDC as regular counselors. A grant of $9,400 will cover the salaries for an entire group of 12 CITS for one four-week session, including taxes.

Request Amount: $9,400

JCC Older Adult Services Programming: KOACH

The focus of the JCC’s Older Adult Services programming is on meeting the mental, physical and spiritual needs of a population aging in place and in need of support to stay as independent and as healthy as possible, and to avoid the negative effects of social isolation. Social groups such as KOACH bring older adults together to socialize, learn, be entertained and break bread together. The word KOACH means “strength” in Hebrew—appropriate because KOACH reflects the vigor of our Jewish community, representing the JCC and six Milwaukee synagogues. KOACH programs provide lunch and a stimulating, entertaining speaker or performance designed for this audience. Through KOACH, older adults gain independence, connect with their peers and stay strong—both mentally and physically—and maintain an involvement in our Jewish community.  Each KOACH guest speaker or performer costs between $400 and $500. A grant of $6,000 will underwrite an entire year of KOACH programs for older adults.

Request Amount: $6,000

Hillel Foundation University of Wisconsin-Madison

Hillel Kosher Café Expansion Project

The Hillel program, bringing excellent local food and kosher meat to the campus and larger Jewish community, is growing. The café is a key point of entry to engage students and makes Hillel a destination location. As a result we need to increase our ability to efficiently serve our students and customers.  The current café kitchen, a finishing kitchen, does not allow us the proper setup to quickly serve our customers and provide the quality experience we so desire. We have some significant inefficiencies and occasional challenges with kosher supervision and the necessary management of the product. To increase our ability to serve students and the community we are seeking a modest investment in equipment of $5,000-$10,000 to increase capacity, food preparation and storage space as well as a modern Point of Sale System.  After three years of operating Adamah Neighborhood table it is clear that this investment is necessary for our ongoing success.

Request Amount: $5,000-$10,000

Interfaith Campus Programming

Over the course of this academic year, Hillel has been working to foster increased relationships and partnerships with other faith communities and multicultural student groups.  In this challenging political and social environment these relations are ever more important in creating a community of students.  We are seeking support to expand our program to offer monthly gatherings of a diverse group of students who come from various faiths and ethnicities to promote awareness, respect, civil discourse, and a vibrant community.  We are seeking support to cover the cost of regular events and meals.  We are particularly interested in a Sunday morning brunch program, leadership lunches, and interfaith holiday experiences such as our upcoming Shabbat dinner that will bring Muslim and Christian students to Hillel for a Shabbat experience and conversation.  We are seeking $4,000-$6,000 in support for Interfaith campus programming.

Request Amount: $4,000-$6,000

Hillel Milwaukee

Student Empowerment Series

This three part series will focus on empowering students physically, emotionally and educationally. The first program will be a self defense workshop with Sergeant Ashley Hagerman of the UWM Police Department, who will educate students on how to remain safe on campus.  Students will also partake in a session of Krav Maga, a high intensity, self defense system developed for the IDF.  The second workshop will be dedicated to mental health.  A licensed professional will lead students in conversation about handling/managing stress and identifying depression.  Lastly, Hillel will conduct a session called The Workplace Workshop –  a panel discussion of successful local business people in varying fields for a lively chat about finding your professional calling and balancing work, play and philanthropy.  After the session there will be mock interviews. Each program will include a reflection or tie to Jewish learning and the importance of taking care of one’s self.  Hillel Milwaukee is seeking $1,000 in funding for this series which includes speakers’ honorariums, marketing/promotion, supplies and food.

Request Amount: $1,000

Passover Seder

Hillel Milwaukee will hold a student-led Seder open to all college students on the first night of Passover. It will utilize our in house Haggadot.  Hillel follows the laws of Kashrut. For an estimated 50 students in attendance, the cost of kosher for Passover catering, supplies, and additional serving staff is $1200.00  We would also like to offer kosher for Passover snacks throughout the week, thus we are requesting funding for Passover programs of $1500.00.

Request Amount: $1,500

Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee

Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogue Sponsorship

This is an opportunity for an individual or family to sponsor the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee’s increasingly important Amazing Faiths Dinner Dialogue Program.  The donor would be cited on the cover of our brochure and on our website as the co-sponsor. This program brings together 8 to 12 diverse people for a simple vegetarian meal and a moderated discussion in which people tell personal stories of their lived experiences of faith or philosophy. It uses a non-threatening, appreciative inquiry process that evokes deep sharing across religious, racial, cultural and geographic lines.  Stereotypes fade, empathy grows, hearts and minds open. We offer these free throughout the year.  More than 500 people have participated, including Jewish people, as diners, hosts and moderators.

Request Amount: $6,000

Communications & Outreach

This is an opportunity to help the Interfaith Conference, which does much with only one full-time staff person, enhance its online communications and explore new ways to bridge religious and racial divides across city, suburban and county lines in the multi-county metro area.  This funding would help support a part-time position for two purposes: to improve the design, content and use of our website, social networking media, and email announcements (this could include promoting various faith communities’ events); and to explore creative ways to address racism and racial divides through faith communities. Our thinking is that the solution to isolation, disdain, fear and polarization is the building of personal relationships rather than having more study programs or seminars. We would like to develop a program whereby congregations in different parts of the metro area would have their people get together for deeper interaction than merely making a site tour or sharing a lunch.

Request Amount:  $5,000 – $10,000

Jewish Beginnings Lubavitch Preschool


A safe, secure outdoor play area is a necessity in the field of early childhood. Our playground is in desperate need of upgrade. We wish to restore, reinvigorate and craft a natural environment for our students that will enable them to see the outdoors as the laboratory for their learning and exploration and establishing an environment which supports their natural curiosity and allows for free reign of their imagination.

The space should offer opportunities for natural and relaxed interactions with adults and children, allowing for more creative approaches to learning and problem solving, as well as meet basic criteria as established by our accreditation body: the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Request Amount: $10,000


We hope to start a garden project on site that will expose our children to hands-on experience with nature. Children need to interact with nature and living elements so they can later want to preserve it. Children can learn about nutrition and health in a non-intimidating format. Children can made food choices based on new experiences with a wide variety of foods.

We plan to have input of parent volunteers and a master gardener from the UW-Milwaukee Extension Program. Summer themes will incorporate nutrition, garden maintenance and hands on application. As we start harvesting, children will have taste tests and chart their favorite foods (thus incorporating math skills). They will also discuss alternative ways for the food to be used (i.e. soups, new salads, etc.).

Request Amount: $2,000

Jewish Family Services

Campus Integration Program

Our Campus Integration Program at Deerwood Senior Residences and Bradley Crossing Supportive Housing Community promotes self-determination, full inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in campus life and the community at large.  The program accomplishes these goals by providing social services, transportation, and a full calendar of monthly education and recreational opportunities to individuals and families living in a unique residential campus for low to moderate income households.  Residents benefit from educational sessions on financial literacy, avoiding scams and preventing financial abuse, health and wellness presentations on stress, mental health awareness, cancer awareness, safe sex practices, and substance abuse as well as employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.  Recreational opportunities include site based activities like card and board games, movie nights, musical concerts, arts and crafts, gardening, youth activities, potlucks for resident birthdays and celebration of national, religious and cultural holidays.  Community based recreation includes trips to local shopping malls, restaurants, tourist destinations and other attractions.  No cost, wheel chair accessible transportation provides residents with convenient access to nearby grocery stores, pharmacies and social activities. The social services component helps residents problem solve issues that impact their ability to live independently or safely and connects them to resources for additional benefits like energy assistance, food pantries, tutoring, and assisted living services. A gift of $10,000 will support the salary costs for a full-time Campus Integration Coordinator position, a half-time Service Coordinator position and program supplies for our Campus Integration Program.

Request Amount: $10,000

Residential Meal Program for Low Income Seniors

Our Residential Meal Program addresses a critical need for healthy and nutritious food for low-income seniors at Deerwood Crossing Senior Residences.  One hundred and one individuals (64% African-American, 36% Caucasian) reside in the 96 apartments. The average annual household income is $19,305.  Forty-two assisted living residents take part in the Deerwood Crossing Dining Program through a subsidized meal plan through a Medicaid waiver program that is available to residents with a qualifying disability and less than $2,000 in assets. Our chef provides nutritious, “home-cooked” style meals seven days a week to appeal to a variety of tastes and dietary concerns.  The financial gap between the Medicaid waiver program reimbursement and the cost to deliver the residential meal program is $99 per resident, each month, for each of the 42 residents. This requires us to secure additional financial support to supplement the program at a cost of $50,000 a year.  A gift of $10,000 will help cover the cost of unreimbursed expenses associated with this program.

Request Amount: $10,000

Jewish Home and Care Center

Life Interrupted: Serving Individuals with Cognitive Impairment in the Heart of the Jewish Community

It is supposed to be a time of new hopes and aspirations, as individuals and families look forward to new–found freedom. Children are flying from “the nest”, and now, Monday mornings may begin to feel like weekends. Then, suddenly, the rhythm of life is interrupted with a devastating diagnosis. “You have Young–Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.” Little has been done in the development of specialized community programs for people under the age of 65 with Alzheimer’s disease or those in the early stages of dementia. This organization has 2 innovative and specifically designed programs for individuals living in the community with early memory loss. “ReCharge” is an interactive brain and body fitness class that offers education on the brain and memory, teaches memory strategies and how to be intentional about memory. Individuals that are younger with dementia do not always succeed in a class such as ReCharge that requires a great deal of writing, following directions, and visual spatial skills. In response to this need, the “R+R: ReCharge and Renew Club “was designed to improve quality of life through meaningful social connections and community outings for younger active individuals. Both of these innovative programs are well respected in the community, provide respite for the care givers, support the movement towards a dementia friendly community and provide much needed community education.

Receiving grant support of $5,000 for each of the 2 programs would lessen financial concerns, enable expansion of our outreach, allow us to serve lower income families, and provide a way for individuals, even with memory loss, a way to still feel part of the Jewish Community.

Amount requested: $10,000

Jewish Museum Milwaukee of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation

The Blacklist: Hollywood’s Red Scare

An original exhibit researched and curated by the Jewish Museum Milwaukee will be on exhibit September 2017 through March or 2018 and then available to travel to other museums. The freedoms of speech and assembly are central to the idea of American democracy, but what happens when the rights associated with these freedoms are impacted? How did and does the American public, government, and industry respond to these encroachments. The exhibit will highlight the effects of this intersection of art, politics, and economics and its impact on individuals, many of whom were Jewish, and the country more broadly. The people regarded as “Un-American” were disproportionately from minority backgrounds—Jewish, immigrants, gays, and African American.  One person’s subversion is another’s biting commentary on the American experience. This exhibit will explore the factors which led to the Hollywood Blacklist, a time in which these first amendment freedoms and what it meant to be patriotic became central in a cultural battle, one that Americans continue to replay with new and different issues. The total cost of the exhibit will be over $200,000.

Request Amount: $10,000

Professionalizing Presentations

The Jewish Museum Milwaukee presents over 40 programs per year on a wide array of topics.  From special-exhibit based programs, to book signings; from the newest JMM program series Conversation Starters to performers, the Museum ensures that the presenter’s credentials are impeccable and the content is relevant.  The presenters are always experts in their field, many travelling to present to the Milwaukee community from outside of Milwaukee and sometimes Wisconsin.  The Museum badly needs an 85 inch Smart TV to hang in the Atrium so that the physical presentation does justice to the content being delivered.  The current monitor is too small for audience viewing and the hook up to the wireless system for PowerPoints, slides and videos is intermittent, causing a less than acceptable audience experience.  Newer and larger technology will ensure a satisfying experience for audiences and presenters alike.

Request:  $8,000

With an updated sound system:  $8,500

Milwaukee Jewish Day School

Portable Technology

As our students and curriculum become more and more sophisticated technologically, the need for every student to have a dedicated, internet-connected productivity device continues to grow. MJDS students in fourth through eighth grades already have devices available to them at all times to enhance their learning and innovation. MJDS is seeking a $7,000 grant to purchase 30 Chromebooks for its second and third grade students so that they, too, can benefit from this technology.

Request Amount: $7,000

36th Year Anniversary Mitzvot

During the 2017-2018 school year, MJDS will celebrate a significant milestone – its 36th year educating Milwaukee’s Jewish children and their families in a pluralistic environment. To commemorate the occasion, our students will devote their time to carrying out 36 mitzvot in the community. MJDS is seeking a $8,200 grant to support the infrastructure costs to carry out these mitzvot, allowing our students to fulfill identified needs that are meaningful to them in the greater Jewish and non-Jewish Milwaukee community.

Request Amount: $8,200

Coalition for Jewish Learning of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation

Jewish Education Innovation Grants

The Milwaukee Jewish Federation formed a task force six months ago to explore how to fund Jewish education in Milwaukee. This included formal education (synagogues and day schools) and informal education (camp, youth groups, etc.) for children birth to age 18. The task force will recommend the establishment of a fund for innovation grants to encourage Jewish organizations to try new and different approaches to Jewish education. Many communities around the US have done this with great success, leading to cutting edge educational innovations. CJL will establish and manage the fund, creating a community panel that will evaluate all grants requests. CJL is seeking $10,000 in seed money to start this project.

Request Amount: $10,000

Community Wide Education Programming

For the past two years, CJL has run a program for middle school age children from throughout the community (day schools and supplementary schools). In 2016 the program was about what Jewish Texts teaches us about texting and three schools participated. In 2017 the program is about Israel. This year we expect children from Bader Hillel Academy, Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid, Congregation Emanu-El Waukesha, Congregation Shalom, Congregation Shir Hadash, Congregation Sinai, Milwaukee Jewish Community Hebrew School, and Milwaukee Jewish Day School to participate. This program is a wonderful opportunity to have Jewish children from throughout the community get to know one another (and do some Jewish learning) before they enter high school. We hope to promote friendships and participation in community formal and informal education. We are seeking $5,000 in funding to do two programs next year (two different grades) thereby connecting even more children in the community.

Request Amount: $5,000

Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation

The Second Generation (2G) Speakers Bureau Fund

Over the past couple of years we have sadly seen the passing of some key members of our Speakers Bureau of Holocaust survivors. HERC, like other Holocaust education organizations in the world, must find creative alternatives to the educational setting of a survivor facing a group of students. In August of 2016, HERC had its first Children of Survivors workshop, consisting of children of survivors who had expressed interest in carrying the torch of Holocaust memory to the next generation. Since the experience of the second generation is different from those who had a first-hand experience of the Nazi hell, this group will be well-prepared and ready to speak at schools only if it could be continuously trained and be able to duly put the particular story of the relative in historical context.

We would like to propose the creation of a 2G Fund to allow the HERC staff to recruit children of survivors, meet with them on a quarterly basis, and provide them with an array of educational opportunities, including films, lectures by guest speakers, and public speaking coaches, and offer them an annual trip to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Budget items would include honoraria for speakers and coaches, editing of survivor video testimonies, professional PowerPoint design, films, museum visits, textbooks, field trips, incidentals.

Request Amount: $5,000

The Last Cyclist

HERC would like to request $10,000 toward the local production and the Wisconsin premiere of a theatrical play focusing on the story of inmates in the Nazi camp Terezin (also known as Theresienstadt). This is a powerful play, opening a window onto a little known aspect of “spiritual resistance” to the Nazis during the Holocaust. Despite the harrowing conditions under which they were forced to live and work, Jews in Terezín created a remarkable wealth of cultural offerings, including theatrical performances, concerts, recitals, paintings and drawings, and thousands of lectures.

The Last Cyclist is a daring, gallows-humor, absurdist allegory that expands on the “Jews and the cyclists” theme, making cyclists the victims of the inmates of a mental asylum who escape and take over the outside world. HERC would feature the play at the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in collaboration with its Judaic Education director Jody Hirsh. We are planning a total of 4-5 performances during March of 2018 at the JCC Ritz Theater, including a Sunday night premiere for the community, followed by a number of weekday matinees for public and parochial schools.  Budget items would include compensation for director and cast, scenery and costumes, travel expenses for the author for the JCC premiere, totaling $15,500.

Request Amount: $10,000

Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation

Black-Jewish Alliance

The Black-Jewish Alliance began last year with a few small gatherings of leaders from both communities. The alliance’s purpose is to build understanding and alliance between the two groups, to reduce anti-Semitism and anti-Israel expression within the Black community and to increase support for African American issues among the local Jewish communities. A seed investment would allow that group to plan a series of programs that would increase the number of events and expand the number of people involved. The group’s activities are designed to build trust and understanding among participants, provide a forum for substantive discussions on issues of importance to each and both communities, and take meaningful action together. A series of programs will include intensive, small-group experiences – home hosted dinners, film screenings, and intentional discussions. Community programs will also be included to shed light on issues of importance, including Israel, Black Lives Matter, criminal justice, etc.; and shared social justice projects.

Request Amount: $7,500

Interfaith Partners for Peace – Exposing Local Clergy to Israel

Last year, JCRC recruited two local clergy, a rabbi and leader of a local Protestant denomination, to participate in Interfaith Partners for Peace, a trip for Israel designed and led by the Israel Action Network whose aim is to “complexify” Israel and the conflict and therefore build support and slow the move toward boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the Jewish state. At a cost of $2,500 per couple, with the rest subsidized by IAN, JCRC can send four more interfaith couples to participate in this meaningful and perspective altering trip. The Presbyterian minister who participated has shared his discovery of Israel’s complexity and has become an outspoken opponent of BDS measures. Clergy are exposed to Israelis and Palestinians living with the complex conditions of life on the ground, and discover the many ways to invest in peace rather than demonize Israel through divestment and other punitory measures. BDS is gaining support among local Protestant clergy and congregants, and this trip is the most effective way we have of fighting BDS in those circles.

Request Amount: $2,500-$10,000

Yeshiva Elementary School

Facility Security Upgrade

Yeshiva Elementary School (YES) is in the process of upgrading campus security.  The school continues to seek funding to help pay for these critical improvements to our facility. Our current priorities are to upgrade our perimeter security by purchasing new exterior lighting and replacing our outdated security cameras. We are respectfully requesting $10,000 of support to enable us to accomplish these two priorities.

Request Amount: $10,000

Computer Room Upgrade and Expansion

As YES’s enrollment has grown, we desire to add workstations in our computer room. In order to do so, we plan to move our computer room to a larger space. This will involve the purchase of new computers and tables, upgrading some of our existing workstations, wiring the new room with the necessary electric and network cables, and installing additional cooling systems.

Request Amount: $10,000

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