Jewish United Fund to seed community innovation with up to $1 million in Breakthrough Fund grants

Encouraging smart growth and innovation in the Jewish nonprofit sector are the goals of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago's Breakthrough Fund, which is now requesting proposals for its current grant cycle.

Launched in Fall, 2013, the cutting edge grant program awarded $5,000 mini-grants to 10 local programs last December. The mini-grants funded programs focused primarily on different aspects of engaging unaffiliated individuals and families, and/or members of the LGBTQ community. Now, during its first full-scale cycle, the Breakthrough Fund will award up to $1 million in grants for new, innovative local programs and initiatives that meet local Jewish needs and engage community members Jewishly throughout their lifespans. Breakthrough Fund grants will support not only proven organizations that create and expand value-added programs and services, but also new voices, visions, and ideas that have never before been able to emerge in the Chicago and overseas communities.

"In order for our community to continue to grow and realize our values - caring for those in need, expressing shared ideals through collective action, and looking out for our fellow Jews worldwide - we must invest time, energy, and money in trying new approaches to our work," said David T. Brown, JUF/ Federation Chairman of the Board. "We must be willing to build on prior achievements as well as learn from real-world experience about what works, and what doesn't work."

A Request for Proposals (RFP) was released this week and proposals will be accepted through March 31, 2014 at 5 p.m.

JUF invites prospective applicants to attend a workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 9:30 am, at the Jewish Federation. Registration is required. Attendees will learn more about the Breakthrough Fund's goals, application process and requirements, and evaluation criteria. For more information contact Sarah Follmer, Senior Planning Associate, Strategic Partnerships at (312) 357-4547 or

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