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Archive for : The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation

New Schusterman Foundation Hire to Focus on Young Jewish Service Leaders

The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation announced today that Abby Strunk Saloma will join its national office in Washington, DC, as a Program Officer.

Strunk Saloma will develop and implement initiatives to engage and support young Jews involved in secular service work and otherwise as they explore and become creators of Jewish life. She will focus on broadening and deepening the Foundation’s work with Teach For America, particularly through its REALITY Israel Experience program, which brings corps members to Israel for 10 days to explore their commitment to leadership, education and social justice through a Jewish lens.

The success of the program, in tandem with the recent Volunteering+Values report from Repair the World, has highlighted a significant opportunity to help young Jews see their commitment to volunteerism through the lens of a Jewish framework and to strengthen the Jewish community’s social impact. The program offers a replicable model for engaging young Jewish volunteers across other secular service organizations.

“Imagine how powerful it would be if all young Jews understood their commitment to service as an authentically Jewish value,” said Lynn Schusterman, chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. “By bringing Abby on board, we are able to expand and deepen our efforts to enrich the Jewish lives of young adults and to heighten the impact they are able to have on the Jewish community and the world at large.”

Strunk Saloma brings to the Foundation a breadth and depth of experience from the for-profit, non-profit, Jewish and secular sectors, as well as extensive experience managing and coaching young and emerging professionals. Following her tenure at BBYO, during which she helped to nearly double teen involvement in meaningful Jewish experiences, Strunk Saloma assumed the Executive Director role at Street Sense, a DC-based non-profit organization that works to empower the homeless. Most recently, she led the development efforts for The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, a non-profit organization that trains health and mental health professionals, educators and community leaders.

In addition to her work with young Jewish secular service leaders, Strunk Saloma will design, manage and evaluate initiatives to recruit, network and train the best and brightest young Jewish professionals. Strunk Saloma’s role is a natural extension of the Foundation’s work over the past two decades to help as many young Jewish adults as possible connect with one another and work together to build vibrant, inclusive Jewish communities. She will work in close collaboration with the Foundation’s global staff to build on and support its continuing efforts to expand the reach and impact of our work; incubate, pilot and launch new programs and initiatives; and empower young Jewish innovators to create new avenues of Jewish experiences.

US, Israel teachers join forces

Top Teach For America corps members are meeting with their Teach First Israel counterparts to learn from one another how best to inspire students in disadvantaged areas to succeed in school and to work on a communal vision of educational equality.

The encounter is just one stop for Teach For America corps members on the REALITY Israel Experience program, supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation (CLSFF) and the Samberg Family Foundation in partnership with Teach For America and the ROI Community of Young Jewish Innovators.

The 10-day trip is designed to introduce corps members to Israel’s education and social justice systems, give them exposure to top Israeli leaders and thinkers, and help them uncover and recommit to the values that drive their passion for public service.

“By partnering with Teach For America to create the REALITY program, we hope to inspire corps members to embark on meaningful engagement with their personal journeys and with Israel, as well as cultivate long-term dedication toward Jewish community involvement and service,” said Lynn Schusterman, chair of CLSFF, speaking on behalf of both foundations.

“Our gathering will not stop at trading teaching tips,” said Andrew Mandel, Teach For America’s vice president of interactive learning and engagement. “It will involve sharing what we are learning from our experiences in the classroom and what larger changes it suggests we must make in our respective countries on behalf of our students and communities.”

Both Teach For America and Teach First Israel are based on a simple but powerful concept: Enlist top college graduates to become lifelong champions for educational equity by first recruiting them to teach for two years with students from low-income backgrounds.

They are both part of the Teach For All network—a collection of independent social enterprises working to expand educational opportunities in their respective countries—and are highly selective.

Last year, 48,000 people applied for 5,200 spots with Teach For America. Similarly, Teach First Israel chose 90 out 1,400 applicants for the coming school year. In 2011-2012, it will be expanding from Jerusalem, Beersheba, Haifa, Horfeish, Holon, Bat Yam, Petah Tikva and Or Yehuda to include schools in Lod, Akko, Kiryat Shmona, Arad and Dimona.

Among the 57 Teach For America corps members participating in the 2011 REALITY Israel Experience are:

Jessica Bero, who worked as a chef before joining Teach For America, helping to turn around Kansas City’s largest soup kitchen by bringing students in as kitchen staff.
Eric Poris, a math teacher at American Horse School on the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation in South Dakota and the only Jew on the reservation. He has also taught in the Swiss Alps, Brazil and Peru.
Leora Sher, who taught adolescent AIDS awareness in the villages of South Africa before she began teaching in Chicago.

The REALITY Israel Experience introduces corps members, leaders in their own right, to key Israeli figures in the education and social action movements, and to trailblazing Israeli initiatives like B’Maagalei Tzedek, Atid Bamidbar and Friends of the Earth.

Not only are participants examining the values that drive their commitment to public service, they are also exploring the connection between Jewish values, public service and how the two reinforce each other.

Creating better future for children worldwide
REALITY trips for Teach for America corps members were also conducted in the summers of 2009 and 2010, and the impact of the visit to Israel is profound. According to The REALITY Israel Experience: An Impact Study, it strengthens the link between participants’ Jewish identity and passion for service while deepening their commitment to social justice and the Teach For America mission.

Rachel Brody embodies REALITY’s transformational power. Before she participated in the first REALITY trip in 2009, she had never been involved in the Jewish community nor did she connect her dedication to teaching students with disabilities to Jewish values. Today she is a PresenTense Fellow in Jerusalem, where she is working on AIM, or Abilities Inclusion Movement, a social start-up that will train and certify organizations and businesses to integrate people with disabilities.

“I had never felt any connection with Israel or felt particularly Jewish,” Brody said. “Coming here on REALITY, I learned a lot about Israel and Judaism. I felt a connection with Judaism that I did not feel before. I especially identified with tikkun olam and tzedaka.”

Indeed, the REALITY Israel Experience anticipated the finding of the recently released Volunteering + Values: A Repair the World Report on Jewish Young Adults. As reported by CNN, this study underscored the need for programs that help young Jews see their volunteerism through the lens of a Jewish framework to ensure an active, enduring commitment to service and to strengthen the Jewish community’s social impact.

“It is our hope,” said Adam Simon, CLSFF’s associate national director, “that the success of the REALITY program will encourage future partnerships with secular service organizations, as well as become a model for engaging young Jews in service as a way to lead richer, more meaningfully Jewish lives.”

The encounter also promises great benefits to the Teach First Israel participants, who have just completed the program’s inaugural year.

“Meetings such as these expand their horizons, enrich their perspective, enable them to see that they are not alone and that teachers in other countries experience similar situations,” said Asaf Banner, CEO and co-founder of Teach First Israel, a joint initiative of the Ministry of Education, JDC-Israel, HaKol Hinuch and the Naomi Foundation.

“This peer-to-peer opportunity to share tips, knowledge and best practices is empowering. They will come out of it more motivated, knowing they are part of a global movement of young leaders who want to create a better future for children around the world.”

Teach For America and Teach First Israel Join Forces to Build a Global Movement to End Educational Inequity

In just a few short hours, 57 up-and-coming U.S. change agents will be on their way to Israel to connect with local peers and leaders – and their counterparts at Teach First Israel – through the REALITY Israel Experience for Teach For America corps members program. While here, they will learn from one another on how best to inspire students in disadvantaged areas to succeed in school and to work on a communal vision of educational equality.

The encounter is just one stop for Teach For America corps members on the REALITY Israel Experience program, supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the Samberg Family Foundation in partnership with Teach For America and the ROI Community of Young Jewish Innovators. The 10-day trip is designed to introduce corps members to Israel’s education and social justice systems, give them exposure to top Israeli leaders and thinkers, and help them uncover and recommit to the values that drive their passion for public service.

Speaking on behalf of both foundations, Lynn Schusterman told eJP, “By partnering with Teach For America to create the REALITY program, we hope to inspire corps members to embark on meaningful engagement with their personal journeys and with Israel, as well as cultivate long-term dedication toward Jewish community involvement and service.”

Both Teach For America and Teach First Israel are based on a simple but powerful concept: Enlist top college graduates to become lifelong champions for educational equity by first recruiting them to teach for two years with students from low-income backgrounds. They are both part of the Teach For All network – a collection of independent social enterprises working to expand educational opportunities in their respective countries – and are highly selective. Last year, 48,000 people applied for 5,200 spots with Teach For America. Similarly, Teach First Israel chose 90 out 1,400 applicants for the coming school year. In 2011-2012, it will be expanding from Jerusalem, Beer Sheva, Haifa, Horfeish, Holon, Bat Yam, Petach Tikva and Or Yehuda to include schools in Lod, Acco, Kiryat Shmona, Arad and Dimona.

The participants in the 2011 REALITY Israel Experience come from a wide background of experiences, including:

  • Jessica Bero, who worked as a chef before joining Teach For America, helping to turn around Kansas City’s largest soup kitchen by bringing students in as kitchen staff.
  • Eric Poris, a math teacher at American Horse School on the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation in South Dakota and the only Jew on the reservation. He has also taught in the Swiss Alps, Brazil and Peru.
  • Leora Sher, who taught adolescent AIDS awareness in the villages of South Africa before she began teaching in Chicago.

The REALITY Israel Experience introduces corps members to key Israeli figures in the education and social action movements, and to trailblazing Israeli initiatives like B’Maagalei TzedekAtid Bamidbar and Friends of the Earth. Not only will participants examine the values that drive their commitment to public service, they will also explore the connection between Jewish values, public service and how the two reinforce each other.

REALITY trips for Teach for America corps members were also conducted in the summers of 2009 and 2010, and the impact of the visit to Israel has been profound. According to The REALITY Israel Experience: An Impact Study, it strengthens the link between participants’ Jewish identity and passion for service while deepening their commitment to social justice and the Teach For America mission.

Rachel Brody, who currently calls D.C. home, embodies REALITY’s transformational power. Before she participated in the first REALITY trip in 2009, she had never been involved in the Jewish community nor did she connect her dedication to teaching students with disabilities to Jewish values. Today she is a participant in the PresenTense Global Institute Fellowship in Jerusalem, where she is working on GIM, or Global Inclusion Movement, which will work with Jewish community centers to integrate people with disabilities into the broader community.

“I had never felt any connection with Israel or felt particularly Jewish,” Brody said. “Coming here on REALITY, I learned a lot about Israel and Judaism. I felt a connection with Judaism that I did not feel before. I especially identified with tikkun olam andtzedaka.”

Indeed, the REALITY Israel Experience anticipated the finding of the recently released Volunteering + Values: A Repair the World Report on Jewish Young Adults – a study that underscored the need for programs that help young Jews see their volunteerism through the lens of a Jewish framework to ensure an active, enduring commitment to service and to strengthen the Jewish community’s social impact.

“Meetings such as these expand their horizons, enrich their perspective, enable them to see that they are not alone and that teachers in other countries experience similar situations,” said Asaf Banner, CEO and Co-Founder of Teach First Israel, a joint initiative of the Ministry of Education, JDC-Israel, HaKol Hinuch and the Naomi Foundation. “This peer-to-peer opportunity to share tips, knowledge and best practices is empowering. They will come out of it more motivated, knowing they are part of a global movement of young leaders who want to create a better future for children around the world.”

For more information about the REALITY Israel Experience program, please visit the program website.