Angela Ingel: Director, Marketing & Communications, Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, 415-512-6246, AngelaI@sfjcf.org
Idit Klein: Executive Director, Keshet
617.524.9227 (office), 617.448.2736 (mobile), email@example.com
Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund
Grants $540,000 to LGBT Organization Keshet
Three-Year Grant Will Expand Bay Area Programs for LGBT Jews
(San Francisco, CA) The Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties (JCF) announced the most significant grant in its history to support community-building, engagement and programming aimed at strengthening lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender participation (LGBT) in the Bay Area Jewish community. The JCF awarded a three-year grant for $540,000 to Keshet, the nation’s largest organization working for LGBT inclusion in all areas of Jewish life.
”Keshet is the right partner for JCF,” said Jennifer Gorovitz, CEO of the JCF. “This grant reflects the vision of the JCF Board of Trustees and one of the major goals of the Bay Area Initiatives Fund, namely to reduce barriers and increase access to Jewish life, for all of the Bay Area’s diverse Jewish community. Keshet’s work in the Bay Area aligns perfectly with the priorities of the LGBT Alliance of the Federation as detailed in the 2010 Strategic Plan.”
Key among those priorities is the development of a broader array of programming and opportunities for engagement in Jewish life targeted to the very diverse community of Bay Area LGBT Jews. “This partnership with Keshet is a natural evolution of the work of the LGBT Alliance, and provides a stronger platform with greater resources for achieving our goals,” said Arthur Slepian, current lay chair of the Alliance. “This grant furthers the twin goals The Alliance has worked on since its inception in 1996: Creating a broader Jewish community that is more welcoming and inclusive of LGBT Jews while creating more specific opportunities for LGBT Jews to engage with Jewish life in ways that meaningfully incorporate their LGBT identities and families.”
The Bay Area has long been known as a mecca for the LGBT population, but it also boasts one of the largest, most diverse, and innovative Jewish communities in the United States. What happens in the Bay Area often serves as a window into trends and issues that will face other Jewish communities across the country. According to the 2010 LGBT Alliance Study, there are an estimated 36,000 self-identified LGBT Jews in the greater Bay Area. And while research suggests that overt exclusion and homophobia are largely a thing of the past in most parts of the Bay Area’s Jewish community, there is still much work to be done in order to ensure that LGBT Jews are welcomed and embraced throughout the Jewish community, particularly in those institutions that work to educate our youth and introduce them to Jewish life.
Idit Klein, founding executive director of Keshet explained, “The Bay Area has some of most vibrant and dynamic LGBTQ Jewish life in the country. We are thrilled to partner with JCF to help create even more opportunities for meaningful connection for LGBTQ Jews, family, friends, and allies. Our Bay Area office opened in June 2011 and built upon the successes of Jewish Mosaic in the area before the merger of the two organizations in 2010.” Klein added, “By expanding our presence in the Bay Area, Keshet hopes to tap into the exciting energy for change and growth that we are seeing at this time nationwide as well as in the Bay.”
With this new support, Keshet will substantially expand their presence in the Bay Area in the following ways:
Dr. David Robinson will join Keshet as the new Bay Area Regional Director in October 2012. David comes to Keshet with extensive experience as an activist, educator, and nonprofit professional. An early activist and leader in ACT UP/NY and later ACT UP/Golden Gate, David worked as a professor of English and LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona, authored Closeted Writing and Lesbian and Gay Literature: Classical, Modern, Eighteenth Century, and most recently served as the Political Director of SAJE: Strategic Actions for a Just Economy in Los Angeles. In addition to Dr. Robinson, Keshet’ s Bay Area office will be staffed by a Community Organizer and part-time Office Manager. Keshet will be housed at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, a progressive Reform synagogue, the spiritual home for many LGBT Jews and straight allies in the Bay Area.
On December 13, 2012 The Jewish Community Federation and Keshet will host Light Up the Bay, a Hanukkah party at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco to celebrate the new partnership. The event is free and open to the whole community.
The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund is a philanthropic catalyst, connecting people all ages, backgrounds, and perspectives to the power we have as a Jewish community to improve the world. We partner with donors, organizations, and foundations to address pressing issues facing our community, and develop innovative strategies that result in deep and lasting impact locally, in Israel, and around the world. Find out more at www.jewishfed.org. The LGBT Alliance is a department of the Jewish Community Federation that was established in 1996, the first of its kind among the Federations serving major U.S. cities
Keshet is a national grassroots organization that works for the full inclusion and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Jews in Jewish life. Led and supported by LGBT Jews and straight allies, Keshet offers resources, trainings, and technical assistance to create inclusive Jewish communities nationwide as well as community programs for LGBT Jews in the cities where we have offices, Boston, Denver, and the Bay Area. Find out more at www.keshetonline.org