FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 24, 2017
Samantha Kupferman, West End Strategy Team
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JCC Association of North America Receives $1.9 Million Investment in Jewish Early Childhood Educators from Jim Joseph Foundation
New grant will expand and enrich leadership trainings at JCC Association’s Sheva Early Childhood Directors Institute
NEW YORK – This week, the Jim Joseph Foundation announced it will invest $1.9 million in the professional development of early childhood education directors through the JCC Association of North America’s Sheva Early Childhood Directors Institute, an initiative of the ““Sheva Center for Innovation in Early Childhood Jewish Education and Engagement. The grant will allow the Institute to train 30 new mid-career fellows over the next three years, equipping them with critical resources, tools and skills to lead early childhood programs at JCCs.
Beginning in April 2018, the new cohort of Sheva fellows will participate in six weeklong in-person retreats, virtual seminars, a leadership internship, a mentorship program, and a study tour of schools in Israel as well as in the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, in northern Italy, which has established an international model for early childhood education. Participants will earn a national early education director’s credential.
The fellows will join a national network of educators that is promoting high-quality early childhood education (ECE) at JCCs across the country. There are currently over 140 ECE programs at JCCs in North America, led by more than 4,000 classroom educators serving 22,000 children. “Sheva,” which means seven in Hebrew, is a powerful number in Jewish thought and practice, and the framework is based on seven core principles of early care and education examined through a Jewish lens.
Doron Krakow, President and CEO of JCC Association of North America, welcomed the grant, sharing, “For the past century, JCC Association of North America has been committed to meeting the needs of the Jewish community and providing meaningful programs to countless families. Early childhood education programs are often a family’s first and most significant gateway to Jewish life and lead to lifelong engagement in the Jewish community. With the Jim Joseph Foundation’s generous support, we will be able to continue to invest in the early educational leaders who make that possible, advancing our mission to enhance Jewish life – a particularly notable accomplishment as the JCC Movement celebrates our centennial year.”
JCC early childhood programs are the largest platform of Jewish early childhood education in North America, touching thousands of young lives annually. Recognizing that reach and responsibility, in 2015, JCC Association created the Sheva Center for Innovation in Early Childhood Jewish Education and Engagement, an innovative approach to early childhood education, empowering teachers and directors, and positioning JCC early childhood education centers as examples of excellence.
Mark Horowitz, Director of the Sheva Center for Innovation in Early Childhood Jewish Education & Engagement remarked, “Over the past decade, we’ve seen a wealth of new research concerning the long-term benefits of early childhood learning. We know that strong education programs are critical in the development of our young children – and we also know that those programs need strong leaders. With this crucial support from the Jim Joseph Foundation, we will continue to build a strong talent pipeline to lead our schools.”
JCC Association of North America was among 154 nonprofits across the country that responded to the Jim Joseph Foundation’s first-ever request for proposals this spring – and it is one of 21 organizations to which the foundation awarded grants.
“The Sheva Early Childhood Directors Institute will offer a vital support system and training for Jewish ECE educators looking to take the next major step in their careers,” said Barry Finestone, President and CEO of the Jim Joseph Foundation. “We are very excited to work with JCC Association of North America and its talented leadership with deep experience creating vibrant and welcoming Jewish ECE experiences.”
ABOUT JCC ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA:
JCC Association of North America strengthens and leads JCCs, YM-YWHAs and camps throughout North America. As the convening organization, JCC Association partners with JCCs to bring together the collective power and knowledge of the JCC Movement. JCC Association offers services and resources to increase the effectiveness of JCCs as they provide community engagement and educational, cultural, social, recreational, and Jewish identity building programs to enhance Jewish life throughout North America. By supporting the 25,000 Jewish communal professionals who connect with two million JCC participants each year, JCC Association encourages engaged lives of purpose and meaning.