Kranzberg Foundation awards $50K to Jewish young adult programs

Participants in an August, 2010 session of Nishmah’s Banot Buddies, which was one of eight Jewish young adult-focused programs receiving 2011 grants from the Kranzberg Family Foundation.

The Kranzberg Family Foundation, a supporting organization of Jewish Federation of  St. Louis, has awarded $50,000 in grants to eight Jewish programs for teens and young adults in 2011. This is the forth year the family has gifted grants to next gen programs.  To date, the Foundation has donated nearly $200,000 to projects that benefit the St. Louis Jewish community. The Kranzberg Foundation is administered by the Jewish Community Foundation of St. Louis.

The grants were announced by the Kranzberg family. Ken Kranzberg, Jewish Federation board member, set up the Foundation. His daughter, Mary Ann Srenco, is President. She explained the focus this year in selecting programs to receive grants.

“We wanted to help fund existing programs that do successful outreach to a sizeable range of young people from teens to young adults,” she explained. “We also chose to fund some programs that have been around for some time that we hadn’t funded in the past. We are doing so this year for the first time because of their potential reach.”

Ken Kranzberg agreed. “As always, the programs being funded are next gen programs that, for the most part, are already in existence. Some that we’re funding for the first time include Moishe House and a Maryville University program that is striving to serve the Jewish population.  Maryville has the people dedicated to attract more Jewish students. We also liked the fact that mostly St. Louisans attend Maryville, and we felt these students are more likely to stay in St. Louis after graduation.”   

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Another program that is receiving a grant for the first time is a St. Louis Hillel initiative at Washington University. “This grant will help underwrite our innovative Peer Network Engagement Internship, in which a cohort of seven St. Louis Hillel student interns are charged with reaching out to and fostering relationships with a total of more than 200 Jewish peers who are currently uninvolved in Jewish life at Washington University and Saint Louis University,” said Jacqueline Ulin Levey, Hillel executive director. “We’re proud to be partnering with The Kranzberg Family Foundation, and are so appreciative of their commitment to the next generation of Jewish leaders.”

The eight programs receiving grants this year are:

• Nishmah – This is the third year the Kranzberg Foundation has provided funding to support the Banot Buddies program, which engages girls 8-12 years old and teen-age girls in programming that encompasses Jewish values and fosters leadership building, mentoring and relationship building.

• Jewish Student Union  – The Kranzberg Foundation is offering JSU funding for the second year in a row. It’s to support an ongoing program that engages teens in exploring Jewish values and ethics through contemporary media including popular television shows, music, movies, etc. This connection will then be used to inspire the teens to become more involved in Jewish infrastructure such as youth groups. JSU is expanding its program to John Burroughs and Crossroads High Schools.

• Moishe House – This is the first year Kranzberg is funding this program that provides meaningful Jewish experiences for young adults across the world by supporting leaders in their 20’s as they create vibrant, home-based Jewish communities.

• Next Dor – Next Dor, a post-denominational, non-institutional, urban Jewish community space for young adults in St. Louis, is receiving a second year of funding.

• Maryville University – The Kranzberg Foundation chose to fund for the first time this effort to engage Maryville with the overall St. Louis Jewish community, explore ways to engage students in Jewish activities and encourage the creation of bonds between Jewish students, Jewish faculty and staff.

• PJ Library – PJ Library is a program for children ages six months through 7 years. It’s designed to deepen Jewish family relationships and connections to the Jewish community by giving children free Jewish-themed books and CDs, which introduce Jewish life into their homes. This is the second year this program has received funding.

• St. Louis Hillel – This is the first year Kranzberg will be funding the Peer Network Engagement Internship. A core group of seven undergraduate students will build relationships with uninvolved Jewish students and help them to find opportunities to better experience Jewish life, values, rituals and/or traditions.  

• St. Louis Jewish Light – Ohr Chadash, a teen initiative that presents “Teen News by Teen Jews,” is a monthly section in the Jewish Light produced by 15-20 teens. It provides news, features, opinions and analysis of interest to teens in the Jewish community. This is the second year the Kranzberg Foundation has provided funding for the program.