June 15, 2021 — As a majority of American Jews say that working for justice and equality is essential to being Jewish, a $7 million gift from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett to Repair the World will help it expand efforts to mobilize Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world. Scott and Jewett’s unrestricted gift comes as an increasing number of Jews, particularly young adults, engage in Jewish life through service and believe that leading a moral and ethical life is essential to their Jewish identity. Repair the World’s volunteer opportunities, national campaigns, partnerships, and local offerings help young adults act on their values, address urgent needs in their communities, and build bridges across lines of differences. Now Repair the World plans to leverage this generous support to attract additional investments and grow its work to an unprecedented scale.

“We express overwhelming gratitude to MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett for their investment in Repair’s mission and her confidence in Repair’s strong track record of mobilizing tens of thousands of individuals in service,” says Cindy Greenberg, President and CEO of Repair the World. “We are also incredibly thankful to our participants who have engaged in service over our 12 years, our hundreds of local nonprofit partners that meet pressing needs and impact and impact in their communities, and all who have helped lead and contribute to Repair. MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett’s generosity and vision validates the investments of Repair’s generous funders, and their gift is a clear challenge and invitation to do even more: more service, more partnerships, and more investments to elevate and expand service in American Jewish life.”

Repair the World’s adaptive strategy enables it to activate the Jewish service field to create volunteer opportunities, plan major national campaigns, and respond immediately to meet the needs of young adults and local communities. Last year, for example, amid the pandemic and the movement for racial justice, Repair rapidly created the Serve the Moment Initiative with 44 coalition partners to mobilize tens of thousands of young Jews and their communities to serve to meet urgent needs exacerbated by the pandemic. With Scott and Jewett’s gift and others, Repair will dramatically increase its national and local partnerships, accelerating and growing meaningful service and learning opportunities for young adults to address societal challenges. 

  • Repair’s direct programming includes a local presence in the 13 cities with the largest population of Jewish young adults, which in the coming years will expand to 20 cities. Repair’s different program options include episodic (one-time) service opportunities, along with more immersive and full-time fellowship options.
  • Repair has customized partnerships with the largest national Jewish engagement organizations across the country to involve their participants in service. 
  • Repair’s national service campaigns focus on issues such as food insecurity, mental health, voter access, and racial equity, and are grounded in Jewish wisdom and learning. These campaigns activate the entire field and include digital engagement that lead to acts of service and learning. 

“During the pandemic we learned how to both adapt and grow,” adds Greenberg. “As service takes on more prominence in Jewish life, we need others to join in these efforts, from new organizational partners to increased support from more funders. It’s an honor to receive this gift from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett, together with some of the greatest social change and bridge-building organizations in the country. With their past grantees, we’ve seen it’s not just an influx of resources, but something that catalyzes additional growth and investment. We acknowledge the additional responsibility this opportunity places on us to achieve maximum impact. Moreover, Repair and HIAS are the first explicitly Jewish organizations to be their grantees as part of their ‘Giving Pledge.’ Scott and Jewett’s approach to philanthropy, which places complete trust in the non-profit leadership to know how best to make impact, inspires us and it reflects Maimonides’ teachings on the  highest forms of charity.”

Repair has long recognized the impact of service on building bridges between and within communities.  Service grounded in Jewish values and learning has the power to both connect the Jewish community with non-Jewish neighbors around shared values, and be a powerful force for building Jewish unity. This approach resonates with many Jewish young adults who have deep interests in social change. Generation Z is the most civically engaged generation alive today. Along with Millennials, the majority of GenZ say that being Jewish is important to them, but they don’t necessarily connect their Jewish identities with their civic lives and social values. 

“We know that Judaism comes alive for young adults at the intersection of social issues and Jewish tradition,” shared Repair the World Board Chair Robb Lippitt. “Repair the World provides multiple entry points to engage in service as an expression of Jewish values and identity. This is an exciting moment for the Jewish service movement as we can thicken the connection between Judaism and other priorities of Jewish young adults, cultivate leadership, and deepen relationships between Jews and their communities, all while meaningfully serving with our many amazing organizational partners.