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Campus Life 202: 4 Ways To Fund Your Project
by Meryl Press

Turn your idea for a Jewish campus program into reality. Here’s how:

  1. Men of Reform Judaism's Reform on Campus (ROC) Grants. Apply for up to $500 for single Reform events, such as a camp-style Shabbat and dinner, or up to $750 for a series of events, such as the U Mass Reform Boston Cultural Celebration series that Tsiom Ion Motkin ran at the University of Massachusetts, complete with a barbeque, a Klezmer band performance and a screening of Breaking Upwards.

  2. Birthright Israel NEXT . If you’ve been on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip, you can apply for Jewish project funding. Natan/Birthright Israel NEXT Grants for Social Entrepreneurs offer up to $10,000 for ongoing community programs engaging young Jewish adults. NEXT Shabbat provides up to $224 for Shabbat dinner—and even supplies a free “Shabbox,” including candles, “Shabbat essentials” cards, a challah cover, a kiddush cup and a CD. Birthright Israel NEXT gives small grants and resources for holidays too, such as NEXT seders in dorms and classrooms., 1-800-466-0552.

  3. Campus Entrepreneurs Initiative. This Hillel initiative, available at select schools, offers grants of up to $600 to connect students through meaningful projects. University of California/Berkeley student Benjamin Brint, a passionate challah baker, used his $600 grant to organize a Challah for Hunger chapter, which bakes and sells challah on campus. Half the proceeds go to the American Jewish World Service to aid refugees in Darfur; the other half goes to a local food pantry or related organization at the group’s discretion.

  4. Jewish Federation Projects . When I arrived at the University of Arizona (UA) in 2009, I became enthusiastic about the Homer Davis Project, which helps poor, hungry, at-risk students at Homer Davis Elementary School. I asked the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, which supports the project, to fund a UA Hillel project whereby Jewish and non-Jewish college students would collect and distribute school supplies to Homer Davis students, as well as raise money for the school through food drives and bake sales. The federation signed on, providing us with $500 worth of donated school supplies, and we organized a series of events involving hundreds of UA students. The university’s Religious Council has now adopted the project.

More funding is available than you might think.

—Meryl Press, student and Hillel intern at the University of Arizona


Union for Reform Judaism.