The pandemic shed light on the interconnectivity between our health, safety, and the ability for our communities to thrive. Meanwhile, young Jews are reinterpreting what it means to be Jewish in America with more wanting to connect with organizations that align with their values. Three out of four say leading an ethical life and 59% say working for justice and equality are essential to being Jewish.
In summer 2021, Repair the World received $7 million from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett to expand our efforts to mobilize Jews and their communities. This gift highlighted the increasingly powerful role that service will play in building bridging across lines of difference, meeting needs exacerbated by COVID, fostering empathy for one another, and furthering social change in the years to come. These funds will allow us to build vibrant Jewish life to an unprecedented scale, engaging tens of thousands of young adults in service and Jewish learning annually.
With stakeholder feedback about how to leverage these gifts to make the most impact, Repair adopted an adaptive strategic plan that builds on our core programmatic priorities:
- Mobilizing through direct programming: Local presence in 15+ communities with a curated menu of Jewish service program options (full-time Fellowship, part-time Service Corps, episodic service);
- Catalyzing through national partnerships & field activation: Customized partnerships with the largest national Jewish engagement organizations to engage their participants in meaningful service and Jewish learning; and
- Inspiring through national service campaigns: Issue-area campaigns grounded in Jewish wisdom to activate the field to serve, including an alumni ambassadors program where alumni lead their peers in service and Jewish learning.
As we look to the future, we lean on learning from the pandemic and valuable reflections from our stakeholders. Repair’s adaptive strategic plan includes four interconnected spending pillars to build our Jewish Service Movement over the coming years:
- Catalyze our Impact by expanding national partnerships (see Appendix) and our Jewish educational strategy;
- Strengthen our Team by more deeply investing in staff, fellows, corps members, and DEI work, including increasing our Economic Access Fund;
- Tell our Story by expanding our marketing, data, and development capacity and systems to build the Jewish service movement, engage more people in service, and drive resources to Repair; and
- Secure our Future by building operational reserves and pursuing additional investments.
These transformational gifts are much bigger than the funding alone–they are the fuel that will rapidly accelerate Repair’s impact, growth, and reach as we build our Jewish Service Movement.
In 2019, we set the ambitious goal of catalyzing one million acts of service and learning by 2030. With this funding, we will reach one million acts of service by 2026 while boldly living out our Jewish values. We will leverage this generous support to attract additional investments and develop our work to an unprecedented scale, while continuing to strengthen our work across local communities. This strategic plan will also support Repair in reaching our aspirations of being the Jewish voice in the national service movement, while ensuring Jewish impact by building thriving Jewish life through providing volunteers with an increased connection to service as an expression of Jewishness, as well as social impact by building capacity for our partners to meet their missions.
In line with our organizational values of hitchazkut, strengthening each other, and na’aseh v’nishma, action & learning, we also used this gift as an opportunity for interconnectivity and collaboration through conducting an extensive listening tour with 199 stakeholders alongside external consultants. This process strengthened our strategic planning and was a meaningful way to build alignment with our stakeholders. A big trend we heard from our stakeholders was excitement about the credibility that comes with this contribution and how we can leverage the investment for additional support. At the end of this process, the JSA received a $5.8 million Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF) Reset grant. This new investment will largely match the funds Ms. Scott and Mr. Jewett provided to amplify the pace of our expansion. The JSA will bring more Jewish depth to this growing field and dramatically expand partnerships that center service and Jewish learning as a defining force in young Jewish life.
Imagine the impact of one million acts of service and learning. We are just at the cusp of our ambitious plan and we will need additional funding to ensure this vision becomes a reality. We know it is a clear challenge and invitation to do even more: more service, more partnerships, and more investment to elevate service grounded in Jewish values and in partnership with our communities through solidarity, achdoot. We glimpse a future where Jewish service is centered more intentionally in Jewish life. We are building a far-reaching movement that will empower young Jews and their communities beyond the pandemic, igniting a commitment to repairing the world, tikkun olam, through service in support of social change. Join us.
1 Acts of service and learning – how we measure the depth and breadth of our work. Each time any person volunteers or learns with Repair, we call that an act of service and learning.