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Three Major Grant Makers Offer To Finance Digital Media Projects

The Jewish community is full of big ideas to foster Jewish culture and community online. Now, finding money to bring those innovations to life is about to get a little easier. Three major players on the Jewish philanthropic scene — the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Righteous Persons Foundation and The Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation — have pooled resources to create the Jewish New Media Innovation Fund. In this inaugural year, the philanthropies are making available $500,000 to finance a range of digital media projects.

As examples of new media used innovatively to engage American Jews, the grant-making organizations have cited G-dcast, a series of animated short web videos centered on the weekly Torah portion, and 10Q a website that encourages Jews to reflect on their lives in the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The fund will distribute money in increments of up to $100,000, though most grants are expected to be in the $30,000 to $50,000 range. Unlike many other projects sponsored by each of the three philanthropies, the Jewish New Media Innovation Fund does not limit the request for proposal to non-profit organizations; for-profit enterprises and individuals are also eligible.

Grantees must agree to track their progress and share with the fund what they learn in the course of implementing their respective projects. Should the innovation turn a profit, grantees are expected to donate a small portion of the money back to the fund.

–Gabrielle Birkner

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