When the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival kicks off this Sunday, it will be the first time it does so with funding from the annual Campaign for Jewish Needs. The festival is one of seven programs funded through the Jewish Community Association’s 2013 “outreach” allocations, which total $110,000. 

“It gives us an opportunity to support a cultural event in the community,” said Lisa Kaplan, the association’s director of planning and organization relations, adding that the Outreach Council, which recommended the allocations to the association board, would like to see more cultural events in the local Jewish community. 

The festival — which launched in 1996 as the Phoenix Jewish Film Festival, then merged with the East Valley Jewish Film Festival in 2010 to form a new entity — received $7,500 from the association. 

The Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, the association’s predecessor, typically funded its constituent agencies and rarely funded specific programs such as the film festival.

The Outreach Council reviewed more than 25 grant applications this year, Kaplan said. Following is a list of the other organizations and programs that received funds for 2013.

BBYO: The teen group will receive $5,000 in funding for programming. In many communities, BBYO is primarily supported by a Jewish federation, said Alison Betts, chair of the Outreach Council, who added that she’s excited about the new partnership with “such a long-standing, successful program.”

The grant will “engage more teens and grow our AZA and BBG leadership experience,” Jayme David, local BBYO director of community engagement, wrote in an email to Jewish News. The funds will also go toward expanding and enhancing BBYO Connect, a program for students in grades 6-8. 

“BBYO offers leadership development through affordable AZA and BBG experiences, participation in chapter programming, conventions and communitywide campaigns and initiatives,” David wrote. “This funding will allow increased teen participation.” 

Chabad of Arizona: This allocations cycle marks the first time Chabad has received funding from the annual campaign. Outreach funds of $1,000 will go toward public Passover seders. 

The East Valley Community Building Initiative: The East Valley JCC, Arizona State University Jewish Studies Program, Hillel at ASU and synagogues in the East Valley — Chabad of the East Valley, Chabad of Mesa, Temple Beth Sholom of the East Valley and Temple Emanuel of Tempe — received $700 for a leadership seminar scheduled for May 5. 

The effort, spearheaded by Marc Krell, TBS-EV religious school director, will bring leaders of the participating organizations together to meet and learn from one another and from presenters, Krell said. He said he got the idea from the Jewish Community Foundation’s Jewish Community Conversation, held in September 2011. “If the larger community can do that, then certainly the smaller East Valley community should do that,” Krell said.

Hillel at ASU: Hillel, the only partner agency of the former federation to receive outreach funding, will get $80,000 for student programming. It also will receive a $20,000 development grant from 2012 allocations to develop fundraising programs, such as alumni and parent campaigns, Kaplan said.

“Hillel is going through such an interesting time right now,” Betts said. “ASU is one of the largest universities in the country, and so I think everybody in the council was really excited to see that Hillel is taking a really big transition step forward.” The organization for college students is currently involved in a search for a new executive director.

Jewish National Fund: For the second year, JNF received $5,000 in support of its community Tu b’Shevat festival, which was held on Jan. 29 and attended by nearly 2,000 people. 

“It gave us a way to help support the community event and help it flourish and grow,” Kaplan said. 

Valley Beit Midrash’s Start Me Up! Fellowship: Valley Beit Midrash received $10,800 in allocations toward its Start Me Up! Fellowship, which is in its second year. Last year, the fellowship received $25,000 from the association toward developing the fellows’ projects.

The association allocated $1.9 million for Jewish programs and services in 2013, investing $1.2 million locally and sending $250,000 to Israel. The remaining $450,000 went to donor-designated causes.

The allocation recommendations came from the Community Planning Commission, which oversees the work of more than 80 volunteers in four Community Funding Councils: Israel and Overseas, Education, Outreach and Social Services.

The Outreach Council is made up of 13 individuals with marketing and public relations experience who work with community organizations to enhance Jewish identity and involvement throughout the Greater Phoenix community, according to association materials that describe its mission as “(fostering) the creation and perpetuity of outreach programs and services in the Valley of the Sun in order to impact more disengaged Jews and incorporate them into the community.”

Phoenix has “a very high rate of people who are not involved in the community,” said Betts. 

“The Outreach Council wants to see more Jews in Phoenix doing something intentionally Jewish.” 


Jewish Community Association 2013 Allocations


Organization and Program

Jewish National Fund Community Tu B’Shevat Festival $5,000

Hillel $80,000

Valley Beit Midrash Start Me Up! fellowship $10,800

Chabad public seders $1,000

Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival $7,500

East Valley Community Building Initiative $700

BBYO $5,000

Total Outreach  $110,000