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Community Blog Poised for Growth: Hebrew College Awarded Significant Onboard Grant

By Wendy Linden

What a difference five years makes.

Hebrew College has made significant achievements over the past five years. We have eliminated our debt, balanced our budget, moved to a new shared campus, created a communal hub for nine partner organizations, and raised $14.6 million to put the College on solid footing for the future without incurring any long-term bank debt.

torah walk

But there is still more work to do. Reaching our two key goals — broadening our base and building an endowment — will allow the College to grow even stronger in the future.

The College is excited to share that it was recently invited to raise matching funding to be eligible for a challenge grant from a well-respected national foundation. This presents an opportunity to increase our impact on the Jewish community by supporting program expansion, more collaborative community and interreligious partnerships, increased security and safety, and the establishment of a robust endowment.

The wonderful support provided by this OnBoard grant also allows us to broaden our base of foundation support. We will now have the resources to add a grant writer position to our staff and lay the groundwork for an endowment campaign to help ensure the College’s long-term financial well-being and growth.

Matching funds were generously contributed by the Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation, unlocking the match.

“We are at a significant inflection point in our growth and development and are so grateful for this extraordinary opportunity — allowing us to hit the ground running as we plan the next phase for the College,” said Hebrew College President Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld.

Goal #1: Broadening Our Base

Hebrew College hopes to spark growth by broadening our base of foundation support and reaching out to new sources of local and national grant funding. To do this, the OnBoard grant provided funds to engage a part-time grant writer who will identify grant opportunities, assist with grant writing, and train the other members of our development team in grant-writing skills. Specifically, the grant writer will focus on the following priorities:

  • Scholarship support to strengthen the leadership pipeline for rabbis and educators and enhance professional development for clergy and educators in the field; expansion of young adult and teen programs in the Greater Boston area; and expansion of young adult and teen programs of the Hebrew College Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership. Hebrew College is experiencing significant growth in these areas and increased foundation support will help us sustain growth and extend our impact both locally and nationally.
  • Collaborative programmatic initiatives among shared campus partners. Funding from local and national private foundations will open up more opportunities for the College to collaborate with campus partners on educational initiatives supporting LGBTQ inclusion, uplifting Jewish women’s history and contemporary women’s leadership, exploring innovative ritual and prayer leadership, highlighting Jewish creativity, and music and the arts. Collaborative programmatic initiatives will focus on both community education (for teens and adults) and on graduate leadership education (for rabbis and educators-in-training).
  • Safety and security. Funding from state and federal grants, such as non-profit security grants, will help the College increase safety and security for the entire shared campus community.

Birds-eye view of the new shared campus

Goal #2: Building an Endowment

As Hebrew College looks to the future, a major goal is to launch an endowment campaign to ensure our long-term financial sustainability. The focus of the campaign will be continued recruitment and retention of outstanding students and faculty — the human beings at the heart of our educational mission. The funds will be used for these priorities:

  • Support student scholarships and faculty salaries and professional development.
  • Develop, design, and produce compelling print and digital marketing materials to lay the foundation for a successful endowment campaign.
  • Engage professional consultants to work with our in-house staff to develop and prepare campaign materials.

“This grant affords Hebrew College the unique opportunity to plan our next steps of growth with intention, new skills, and senior leadership and lay leadership expertise to ensure success. I can’t wait to get started!” said Nancy Kaplan Belsky, Hebrew College Board Chair.

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