Kranzberg Foundation awards $55K in grants to local NextGen programs

Mary Ann Srenco

The Kranzberg Family Foundation, a supporting organization of Jewish Federation of St. Louis, has awarded $55,000 in grants to eight local Jewish organizations for teen and young adult initiatives in 2012. This is the fifth year the family has gifted grants to Next Gen programs.  The Foundation, administered by the Jewish Community Foundation of St. Louis, has donated more than $250,000 to projects that benefit the St. Louis Jewish community since 2008.

Mary Ann Srenco is president of the Foundation.  Her father, Jewish Federation board member Ken Kranzberg, set up the foundation in an effort to support the next generation of Jewish life in St. Louis. This year the foundation will fund two new programs, in addition to six previously funded programs. 

“We received so many great proposals from numerous organizations. The two new programs fit in with our mission of supporting positive Jewish experiences for the younger generation, with the hopes that they carry it on to the next generation,” said Srenco. 

The two programs receiving first-time grants from The Kranzberg Foundation are Temple Israel’s Jewish Parents as Teachers and Judaism Alive’s Jews, Technology and Rock & Roll.

Both join the Foundation in providing innovative outreach to the next generation and promoting the importance of Judaism throughout the lifecycle.  

The 2012 Kranzberg Grant Recipients

• Nishmah’s Banot Buddies: For the fourth year, the Kranzberg Foundation will provide funding to support Banot Buddies, a program that engages 8-12 year old girls and teenage girls in programming that encompasses Jewish values and promotes leadership skills, mentorship and relationship building.

• PJ Library: PJ Library is designed to deepen Jewish family relationships and connections to the Jewish community by giving free Jewish-themed books and CDs to children from 6 mos. to 7 years. The purpose of the program is to introduce Jewish life into the home, beginning at a young age. This is the third year PJ Library has received funding.

• Jewish Student Union: Teen program JSU will be funded for a third year. The mission is to foster an ongoing program that explores Jewish values and ethics through contemporary media including music, movies and popular television shows. The connection then is used as inspiration for the teens to become more involved in organized Jewish activities, like youth groups.

• Judaism Alive’s “Jews, Technology and Rock & Roll”: A project of Jewish Rock Radio, the program is an innovative curriculum to be utilized in partnership with congregational schools and programs focused toward Jewish youth or young adults. The goal is to leverage music, media, and technology to make Jewish values, culture, and liturgical texts relevant to modern Jewish youth – both in formal and informal settings.

• Maryville University Jewish Student Union/Jewish Initiative: For the second year, The Kranzberg Foundation will fund the effort to engage Maryville University with the broader Jewish community in St. Louis. Priorities include engaging students in Jewish activities and creating bonds between Jewish students, faculty and staff. 

• NextDor: NextDor is a post-denominational, non-institutional, urban Jewish community space for young adults in St. Louis. They will receive a third year of funding from The Kranzberg Foundation.

• St. Louis Jewish Light’s Ohr Chadash (Teen Page): Teen initiative “Ohr Chadash” provides teen news written by teen Jews. The monthly section of the Jewish Light is an ongoing online feature, produced by 15-20 teenagers. Material includes news, features, opinions and analysis of particular Jewish interest.

• Temple Israel’s Jewish Parents as Teachers: For the first time, the Kranzberg Foundation will fund J-PAT, a program unique to St. Louis. The program provides guidance to families as they raise their children, from birth until 3 years old. An ultimate goal of J-PAT is to foster a Jewish environment, leading more families to send their children to Jewish pre-school and affiliate with a synagogue.

For more information on the Jewish Community Foundation of St. Louis visit or contact Wendy Rosenblum at [email protected] or 314-442-3740.