SRE Network Announces Nearly $300k in Grants to Build Capacity of Safety, Respect and Equity Efforts in Jewish Nonprofit Sector
February 21, 2023 — SRE Network (Safety, Respect, Equity) today announced nearly $300,000 in grants to eight organizations in the Jewish nonprofit sector to build on their existing efforts to prevent harassment and discrimination and support safe, respectful and equitable workplaces and communal spaces. Through the award, grantees will have access to funding and expert-practitioners to support their unique efforts, each of which has the potential to scale.
“This was our first ever grant cycle where we invited SRE members to share with us how access to funding and expertise could be a gamechanger for their s, r, e initiatives,” says Elana Wien, executive director of SRE Network. “The response to this opportunity was tremendous, and our committee was charged with the difficult job of selecting those unique opportunities where an investment had the potential to serve as a model for the wider community and lead to replicable results.”
For this round of competitive grants, SRE Network received more than 40 applications from SRE member organizations. Grant recipients reflect a range of geographic diversity, organizational size, and denominational affiliation. Many of the expert-practitioners grantees selected to work with have been long-time SRE partners. This unique grant cycle will serve as a learning opportunity for both grantees and SRE to learn more about the existing resources as well as to identify potential gaps in the area of preventing harassment and discrimination, and creating safe, respectful and equitable Jewish workplaces and communal spaces moving forward. Selected expert-practitioners include Chai Feldblum, Fran Sepler, Gender Equity in Hiring Project, Sacred Spaces, and Ta’amod. The grant recipients and their work are:
ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
ALEPH serves as the transdenominational entity for the Jewish Renewal movement. With two-year grant support from SRE, it will offer training to Ordination Program administrators and core faculty to fortify skills around power dynamics, interpersonal behavior, and psychologically safe culture. It will also work with its 50+ affiliated network communities to provide guidance in prioritizing approaches to fostering inclusive spaces and building structures and policies that reflect equitable institutional approaches.
Footsteps serves formerly ultra-Orthodox individuals seeking resources and support to build healthy and successful lives. With two-year grant support from SRE and building on its prior strategic plan and climate survey results, Footsteps will strengthen its existing policies to prevent and address harassment and discrimination; develop new policies around hiring and advancement, and will incorporate unconscious/implicit bias into hiring and advancement policies.
Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL)
ISJL provides programs and services for the Jewish community across the thirteen states of the US South. With two-year grant support from SRE, ISJL will conduct an in-depth review of current policies and procedures in the area of cultivating respectful workplace and update materials with input from experts; will increase its communication of these policies and procedures to its staff, will provide respectful workplace training to all of its staff, and will incorporate s, r, e as a key strategic priority in its 2024 strategic plan.
Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA)
Jewish Federations of North America is the entity that represents the nearly 150 independent Jewish Federations and a network of 300 smaller communities across North America. With support from SRE, Jewish Federations of North America will work to develop a speak-up culture throughout the federated system. Specifically, it will develop toolkits for federations in creating speak-up cultures, giving and receiving feedback, and identifying and responding to microaggressions, and will provide training to 300 professionals and lay leaders across 30 federations.
Mishkan Chicago is a Jewish spiritual community in Chicago. It has dedicated significant resources to developing its s, r, e capacity over time, including developing a robust reporting policy for staff and community members, assembling a Safety, Respect, and Equity team of lay leaders who can receive complaints and provide oversight and transparency into the complaint process, and publicizing their reporting process with a public landing page to share community norms, a code of conduct, and an overview of the reporting process. With two-year grant support from SRE, it will deepen the confidence and competency of their staff and lay leadership to implement this work through more in-depth training.
Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA)
NJHSA is an international membership association of over 150 nonprofit human services organizations in the United States, Canada and Israel. With support from SRE, it will launch Phase 1 of a multi-phased Pay Equity pilot to provide local service agencies with the knowledge, insight, tools and resources needed to move towards achieving pay equity in their organizations. In Phase 1, a cohort of 6 agencies will engage in learning, training, exploration, and individual consultation to craft agency-specific roadmaps for implementing the culture and organization change and actions needed to achieve pay equity for all staff.
SketchPad serves as a hub to promote collaboration and innovation for Jewish nonprofit organizations and professionals in Chicago through its coworking space and various initiatives. It is embarking on a multi-phase initiative focused on equitable hiring, onboarding and advancement practices and policies, articulation and documentation of policies that include anti-discrimination and harassment, family leave and paid time off, and compensation. With support from SRE, SketchPad will launch Phase 1 to conduct an environmental scan, assemble and engage a task force, and develop processes and practices for implementation.
Yeshivat Maharat is the first Orthodox yeshiva to ordain women as clergy. With two-year grant support from SRE, Maharat will address bias and microaggressions that women in the Orthodox community experience, by reviewing and enhancing their organizational policies for board, staff and faculty, as well as providing mandatory training to students and faculty (optional for alumni) to learn about respectful environment and bias, with a focus on leading self, leading others, and leading communities and organizations.
SRE has invested over $5 million over 5 years in grants and supports to advance safety, respect, and equity with a focus on gender justice. For a comprehensive list of projects SRE has funded, please click here.
SRE Network is a Jewish network of nearly 160 organizations rooted in a shared commitment to safety, respect, and equity-for all. It inspires meaningful change in workplaces and communal spaces by bringing people together to address gender-based harassment, discrimination, and inequity. Its work is focused on building community, research & learning, and strategic community investments, using an intersectional lens of gender justice. Learn more at www.srenetwork.org.