CEO June 2017 Update

Community Planning at JCFR


Two years ago the JCFR entered into a new allocations system that included an IMPACT GRANTS process. IMPACT GRANTS are intended to inspire individuals, organizations, synagogues, and agencies to provide innovative and impactful engagement programs and services that support and enhance the Jewish community of Richmond.  

The areas of community priorities were created from numerous focus group meetings comprised of diverse members of our community. The priorities chosen were: Engaging Interfaith Families in Jewish Activities, Initiatives to improve the lives of Jewish seniors and older adults and Opportunities for youth to strengthen their Jewish identities.

The IMPACT GRANTS Committee received great feedback from our agencies on program outcomes. As we begin the third year, some agencies and/or synagogues have been granted a second  year of funding, while other new programs have been initiated.

For 2017-2018 here is a list of programs that we funded:

Beth El – Havurah Project - Temple Beth El’s Havurah Project will provide meaningful opportunities for interfaith families, work to strengthen identities of young people and improve the lives of seniors.

Beth Sholom Lifecare Community: “Push for Parkinson’s” – Beth Sholom will increase awareness of Parkinson’s disease and provide hope to those individuals and families afflicted with PD through this new program in two stages: a speaker’s series and a Training and certification of personnel from the national program, Rock Steady Boxing, a fitness program aimed to help those living with PD and implementation of this specific wellness program here in the local area.

BBYO & Virginia Holocaust Museum – Global Ties – BBYO has identified a need for the Jewish teen community of Richmond to strengthen their connection to the global Jewish community. This program will consist of a three-part speaker series, a trip for Ukrainian teens and engagement staff to visit Richmond, and opportunities for teens to participate in Federation-sponsored trips to the Ukraine. The intent is to provide teens a tangible connection between their local involvement in youth groups to the work that happens with Federation and around the world.

Bonay Kodesh - Tikkun Olam – events and Jewish holiday celebrations, are intended to establish an active Jewish community in Chesterfield County, while building strong interfaith partnerships.

KBI – Teen Richmond Israel Program The TRIP program is a three-part series to educate Richmond’s Jewish teens. The first session focuses on how Israel became a state and built itself up. Many different aspects of Israel such as water conservation, technology strongholds, and that Israel is a first responder in many world disasters will be discussed. The second session breaks down and explains where Israel fits in globally and politically. The last section’s discussion is about BDS and Israel advocacy.

VCU Hillel – Jewish Life at VCU                Jewish Life at VCU was awarded an amazing grant opportunity through Hillel International to hire an Engagement Fellow full-time staff. The two-year program is valued at $75,000 each year, of which Hillel International will cover two thirds of the cost. 

The new hire will diversify the staff and tremendously increase the reach of Jewish Life at VCU. More students will be impacted. More resources will be available to VCU students through engagement programming, strategic collaboration with local Jewish organizations and student leadership development. This Fellow also will make resources available to Jewish students at Randolph-Macon College and J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

Community Survey

In an effort to continue our community planning process, the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond and Richmond Jewish Foundation have engaged The Melior Group to conduct a market research-based study of the Richmond Jewish community.  

This research effort will yield a wealth of information about the Jewish community in and around Richmond with respect to community needs, wants, interests and values.  

More importantly, this study will provide JCFR and RJF leadership with actionable insights that will support leadership decisions and strategy going forward.

This new community study follows the long-standing interest of these two organizations in learning more about the community, with previous studies taking place in 1983, 1994, and 2011. Through the information uncovered in this new study, The Melior Group will help to position JCFR and RJF – as well as the institutions, organizations, and programs they support – to meet the challenges of the future and ensure the health and vibrancy of the Jewish community of Richmond for years to come.   

Take The Survey 

Our Community Survey will be online through Friday, June 9. Please help us navigate the future of Richmond’s Jewish community by taking the survey at www.

There are many aspects of our Federation where we touch the lives of so many.  Please call us at (804) 285-6500 to get involved or visit  

 As always, let me hear from you about this column or other things of importance at (804) 545-8622,



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