Established in 2007, the Greater MetroWest Day School Community Fund promotes academic excellence, affordability, collaboration, and long-term sustainability in day school education. The fund supports the Golda Och Academy, Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, Gottesman RTW Academy, and Jewish Educational Center.
Overseen by JCF’s Day School Advisory Council, this Community Fund is part of the Greater MetroWest Day School Initiative, which works to enhance and secure Jewish day school education by building significant endowments for the future while investing in affordability and excellence today.
The Jewish Camp Fund supports the Greater MetroWest Jewish Camp Enterprise, a nationally renowned initiative that provides incentive grants and scholarships that enables hundreds of local children and teens to attend Jewish camp each summer, while broadening support and awareness of the benefits of Jewish camp.
Our signature event is the Tour De Summer Camps NJ, a fundraising bike ride and community celebration that raises vital funds to help local youngsters attend Jewish overnight and day camps.
Since the start of the Enterprise in 2009, the number of Greater MetroWest children and teens attending Jewish overnight camp each summer has jumped close to 40 percent—roughly double the national average during the same period. The fund supports a full-time professional who helps families find the best Jewish camp for their children, as well as a growing Jewish Camp Scholarship Program. Over the past decade, our community has provided more than 2,200 one-time incentive grants of $500-$1,000 to families new to Jewish overnight camping, as well as hundreds of scholarships enabling children from lower income families to experience the joy of Jewish camp. In addition, our community has developed a robust marketing campaign, elevating the profile of Jewish camp in synagogues, schools and public spaces throughout the community.
The Jewish Camp Advisory Council works in conjunction with the Foundation for Jewish Camp and has partnered with the Grinspoon Institute for Jewish Philanthropy to educate Jewish camps on fundraising and outreach strategies.
Grotta Fund for Senior Care
The Grotta Fund for Senior Care funds programs that help older adults age in place independently, safely, and with dignity. The fund was created in 2003 with the proceeds from the sale of the Theresa Grotta Center for Rehabilitative Services.
Grotta is a recognized funder and catalyst of new and innovative programs, ranging from caregiving and home safety to case management and enrichment. Its grants have brought nationally recognized evidence-based care for seniors and caregivers to our region. In response to demographic trends, Grotta seeks to collaborate with our Federation and other foundations to enhance services, promote new technology, and engage and empower older adults.
Since 2003, Grotta has awarded approximately $5 million in grants to agencies serving seniors living in Essex, Union, Morris, Sussex, and eastern Somerset counties.
The Herb and Milly Iris Youth and Family Philanthropy Endowment perpetuates the legacy of Herb z’l and Milly z’l Iris and their extraordinary devotion to our Jewish community and to nurturing future generations of leaders. Herb Iris was a builder—not only as a real estate developer, but also as a legendary fundraiser and Jewish community leader. Following his passing in 2006, Milly Iris along with family, friends, and community supporters created the Fund in Herb’s memory. Milly worked with our community to design programs that would nurture teenagers’ passions and connect them to Jewish life. Following her passing in 2014, the fund was renamed to honor both of them.
The fund supports programs that promote Jewish philanthropy, activism, and involvement by Jewish teens and their families. Its signature initiative is Iris Teen Tzedakah, in which high school students pool their own donations—matched by the Herb and Milly Iris Endowment—and collaboratively allocate grants to Jewish organizations. Since 2006, Iris Teen advisors have allocated more than $200,000 to Jewish organizations locally, in Israel, and around the world.
The fund also supports a Jewish teen newspaper, Fresh Ink, written by and for Jewish teens; Jewish service learning initiatives; and programs that connect young people to Israel.
The Innovations Fund was established in 2018 by a group of Wexner alumni, who make meaningful contributions and determine priorities and grants that will better the Jewish community. Their contributions are supplemented by dollars from endowment funds established by donors who placed their trust in JCF to identify emerging community needs and opportunities.
The Jewish Women’s Foundation of New Jersey (JWF) transforms the lives of individual women and girls through hands-on philanthropy and collective grant making. Through its giving, it invites women to be agents for change in New Jersey and beyond.
Membership dues create a funding pool from which members make innovative and evidence-based grants to qualified non-profit organizations, Jewish or secular, each year. Recent funding cycles have addressed violence against women, supportive services for developmentally challenged women and girls, and healthcare for vulnerable women.
The Mack Ness Fund
The Mack Ness Fund has helped to revitalize the Negev by supporting innovative projects from a wide range of partner agencies, including non-profit and government agencies, cultural organizations, and businesses. The fund was established in 2005 through a significant bequest from the estate of Mack Ness, a farmer in Somerset County. In keeping with his desire to help the people of Israel, the fund focuses its strategic grantmaking on economic development in the Negev region, with an emphasis on attracting and maintaining a strong young adult population. See the guidelines for applying to the Ness Fund.
The Ness Business Loan Fund of the Negev, a separate entity operated in partnership with The Jewish Agency for Israel, makes low-interest loans to small business owners.
Established in 1997, this fund honors the memory of Morris Rubell, a Holocaust survivor. The fund fosters tolerance and other lessons of the Holocaust by producing Remembrance Journeys, which bring New Jersey high school students and teachers of all races and religions to the U.S. Holocaust Museum and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., for a one-day intensive learning experience with Holocaust survivors. Donors can help to identify schools to be invited to participate in this meaningful experience. Since 1997, more than 4,700 children and teachers from 65 schools have participated in 120 journeys and 15 leadership seminars.
A large volunteer committee produces an annual South Orange/Maplewood Holocaust Remembrance Walk and Service. These community-wide, intergenerational events honor Holocaust survivors, second- and third-generation family members, and righteous Gentiles, strengthening interfaith understanding of the atrocities of the Holocaust. For more than 37 years, this community service has been held at local houses of worship and is attended by hundreds of residents, including clergy of many faiths and community and state dignitaries.