Newsletter   /   August 2023
Moving Towards Collective Change

Moving Towards Collective Change; image shows green Newton's cradle with one orange ball in motion

Our efforts at the Jews of Color Initiative center Jews of Color and work to create change in institutions. Over the past year, whether through community education, research, or leading training sessions in predominantly white institutions, we have developed new strategies to advance the Jewish communal ecosystem’s commitment to racial equity. Change in this area does not occur passively; rather, by actively mobilizing efforts to center the leadership of Jews of Color, we are closer to realizing a Jewish communal ecosystem that reflects the multiracial reality of American Jews. 

Last year, one of our most significant accomplishments was the publication of our philanthropy guide, Racial Equity-Informed Philanthropy: A Funder Resource from a Jewish Perspective. Created in partnership with Slingshot, this anthology is grounded in the perspectives of Jews of Color, histories of racism in the United States, real-world examples, and guidance for creating change. Each chapter is authored by an expert in discussions of race, philanthropy, and Jewish wisdom: Imani Romney-Rosa Chapman, Ginna Green, Rabbi Sandra Lawson, Dr. Analucía Lopezrevoredo, and Joanna Ware. The guide also contains writing from Ilana Kaufman, CEO of the Jews of Color Initiative, and Stefanie Rhodes, CEO of Slingshot. JoCI’s partnership with Slingshot pairs Kaufman’s expertise on racial equity for Jews of Color and Rhodes’ capacity to reach the next generation of philanthropists. 

To expand our impact, we published several op-eds in outlets like The Forward, The Jewish News of Northern California, eJewish Philanthropy, and the Jerusalem Post about our work and the need—amid many important advancements—for more change. For example, Ilana Kaufman, our CEO, published an important piece critiquing Netflix’s missed opportunity to represent the diversity of American Jewry in its 2022 film, You People, as well as a powerful op-ed titled “Despite 10 years of promises, Jewish leaders have failed to make space for Jews of Color.” In the piece, Kaufman calls out the Jewish communities’ predominantly white institutions for paying lip-service to racial equity without making tangible changes. “Lack of policies and practices to ensure a multiracial, anti-racist community, and failure to create and support pathways to diverse role models and diverse leadership, reinforces a false narrative of who is a Jew and a Jewish leader in the United States, harming and arresting the development of us all,” she wrote. 

Finally, we are proud to announce that over the past year, for the first time, we were able to provide three JoC led organizations with multi-year funding: Ammud: The Jews of Color Torah Academy; Jewtina y Co.; and the LUNAR Collective. The multi-year grants reflect our continued trust in these organizations and their leaders, and will have a tangible impact in their ability to think strategically and more long-term than a one-year grant affords. The organizations, with this support, are positioned to make hiring and operational decisions aligned with their values and their organizational goals. It is a welcome development for our field. Moreover, our role as a multi-year grantmaker shows our organization’s continued growth and maturation.

Date Posted

August 2023


Jews of Color Initiative