Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal Invests $400,000 in Community Initiatives

The Jewish Community Foundation of  Montreal (JCF)  has announced  that it is awarding grants to 16 community organizations for 17 leading-edge programs designed to support the vulnerable, promote Jewish identity and culture and strengthen the institutional framework of Montreal’s Jewish community.

“In launching Nova Grants we are encouraging agencies, synagogues and community organizations to experiment, to test new or innovative approaches to meeting critical or emerging needs,” explains David Martz, Chair of the JCF’s Allocations Committee which oversees the Nova Grants. “The initiatives we are supporting do not already receive funding from Federation CJA or other funders, and our intention is for our investments to serve as seed money for programs which will, over the coming years, have a measurable impact on ensuring the vitality of our community.”

JCF Nova Grants, ranging from $25,000 to $50,000, are allocated on an annual basis for either one-time funding for a program which will be carried out within one year, or to be used over a period of up to three years, depending on the nature of the program. This year’s recipients are as follows:

Helping the Vulnerable

  • Agence Ometz is developing a parent consultation service to help parents easily access a one-time affordable screening of their child, ask questions, voice concerns, receive guidance, and support and appropriate referrals to specialized services.
  • Through an Avodah Inclusive Work Experience, Agence Ometz will provide participants with counselling and workshops as well as a real work experience at Federation CJA and affiliated agencies.
  • BANAV will maximize its multi-educational services, including informal Jewish education for youth with learning or developmental delays or on the autism spectrum.
  • The Donald Berman Bikur Cholim Ladies Association will host workshops to enhance awareness of the different forms of elder abuse among seniors in the Ultra-Orthodox Community, many of whom are Holocaust survivors.
  • Through symposiums, Centre Lifeline will build capacity for improved response among organizations already having contact with people who may have addictions.
  • The Donald Berman Yaldei Developmental Centre satellite class known as Beyachad Academy will be offered in the Belz Community, providing an innovative individual approach to early intervention, with a sensitization program, outreach and evaluations.
  • Zera Café and Catering, a start-up offering Israeli style food, will employ for adults with intellectual disabilities, while providing them with training for future food service jobs.

Jewish Identity and Culture

  • Beth Tikvah will be using YouTube videos and social media to create The Synagogue with no Walls and in so doing provide Jews of all ages with easier access to Jewish teachings and traditions.  Said Rabbi Mark Fishman: “The Nova grants allow us to deepen our engagement through projects like: ‘The Synagogue With No Walls’. Through their help and deep understanding of our community, we can now reach more people, in a more targeted way, more of the time.
Rabbi Fishman
  • Through music, the Jewish Learning Lab will develop a new program of Jewish engagement by offering monthly Shabbat jams, concerts, etc. in collaboration with other Jewish organizations, including YidLife Crisis.
  • The Jewish Russian Community Centre will develop an outreach and engagement program targeted at unaffiliated young Russian-speaking Jewish musicians.
Cantor Benlolo and the Shira Choir.
  • Cantor Benlolo, the creator and volunteer conductor of the Montreal Shira Choir, an inclusive group of singers with developmental disabilities, will celebrate the power of music by uniting people of all ages and abilities in performance and group activities.
  • Having begun as a virtual museum, and grown into an organization offering walking tours, with a physical space that includes a gallery for art exhibits, food, boutique, and cultural events, as well as research opportunities for students, the Museum of Jewish Montreal will be focusing on engaging young adults aged 20-40 and their development as future community leaders.
  • The OSM Experience will enable Jewish Day School students to engage with classical music and the OSM by enjoying Chamber music concerts at the different schools, as part of a shared cultural experience in a predominantly Francophone context.
  • JAM Jewish Arts Mentorship Program at the Segal Centre is a fellowship program which will support young emerging Jewishly identified theatre artists working on Jewish themed projects or engaged in Jewish identity issues. Over the course of a year, Fellows will meet, network, and work with special guest speakers, mentors and facilitators.

Institutional Strengthening

  • The Mile End Chavurah will develop and implement a 3-year plan to enable this maturing organization to build capacity and become more self-sustainable.
  • The Montreal Open Shul serves the post denominational Jewish spiritual community, creating and leading innovative and inclusive contemplative Jewish practices. They gather in yoga studios, cafes, the Y/JCC, private homes, and other venues. The grant will support a strategic plan, the first step in building organizational sustainability.
Rabbi Lisa Grushcow and members of the Temple.
  • Temple Emanu-El- Beth Sholom’s Building Community-Small Groups at Temple is modeled on Rabbi Ron Wolfson’s Relational Judaism. This program will bring together affinity groups to build relationships and a sense of belonging, while participating in Jewish learning and performing acts of loving-kindness, etc.

“We are delighted with the range of the initiatives that have been brought forward, and by the diversity of organizations that are sponsoring them,” adds Kathy Assayag, JCF’s Executive Director. “We are tapping into the creativity and community spirit of Jewish Montrealers and confident that Nova Grants will make a significant difference. We look forward to the second round of funding and will be launching the application process in March.”

The JCF’s mission is to grow a strong, sustainable community that embodies the Jewish values of tzedakah, tikkun olam and dor I’dor, from one generation to the other. Its commitment is:

  • To help individuals and families support the causes they care about and achieve their philanthropic goals;
  • To find solutions that are tax-wise and create greater impact;
  • To ensure Montreal and its organizations remain strong and vibrant by helping build and carefully steward financial resources.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s