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Strengthening Jewish Chaplaincy

Demonstration Projects Based on Demand

Wendy Cadge (Brandeis University) and Mychal Springer (New York-Presbyterian Hospital)

January 1, 2023 – November 30, 2024

Funded by the Charles H. Revson Foundation

Request for Proposals

In early spring 2023, the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab at Brandeis University invited grant applications for Jewish chaplaincy demonstration projects to project teams who proposed creative, evidence-based ways Jewish chaplains can meet the demand for innovative spiritual and emotional support for people typically underserved. We particularly encouraged applications related to the work of community chaplaincy – a distinctive contribution of Jewish chaplains – as well as from leaders in organizations and settings that have not traditionally seen the work of Jewish chaplains as central to their mission. 

Four grants of $40,000 were awarded for work to be completed between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024. Each project team is supported by an experienced mentor who has demonstrated success  integrating chaplaincy in new ways into new settings. These mentors will work closely with project teams for the duration of their grants to ensure the success and ongoing viability of their interventions. 

This project is made possible with the support of the Charles H. Revson Foundation.

To best meet the demand and expand capacity through these Jewish chaplaincy demonstration projects, applications necessarily came from existing 501(c)(3) organizations and had to include an executive or other high level organizational leader and a Jewish chaplain on the project team. We sought to fund efforts with the highest likelihood of success during the grant period as well as the strongest possibility of continuing once the funding ends. We privileged projects that have the capacity to be scaled.

For background on the project this initiative developed from, please review the project “Leading Where Life Happens,” particularly the project’s working paper. The Lab hosted an information session on February 13, 2023 at noon Eastern to answer questions applicants had before submitting a proposal.

Successful grantees and their project descriptions can be found here.

What this project will accomplish:

  • Four project teams will have completed demonstration projects, modeling creative, evidence-based ways Jewish chaplains can meet the demand for spiritual and emotional support among Jewish constituents not well served in the contemporary landscape.
  • Four mentors will have supported these teams in ways that ensures their success and builds broader capacity amongst Jewish chaplains and organizations to continue the work and build on the viability of the interventions.
  • Jewish educators in seminaries will have helped to solicit project proposals, built stronger relationships with one another, shared existing and new resources, and partnered with us to share news about the success of these projects as well as thought carefully about how to build what they have learned in these efforts into their curriculum.

Alongside demonstration projects, we will build community and capacity among Jewish educators in seminaries that will expand knowledge about the work of Jewish chaplains and facilitate the integration of the most innovative work into curriculum. We will do so by convening Jewish educators at the beginning of the project and hosting regular conversations with them over the two years of this effort. These conversations will strengthen existing relationships and build new ones as well as facilitate the sharing of existing resources and the creation of new ones based on synergies that emerge generally and through the demonstration projects. These educators know (and taught) many of those we expect will apply for demonstration project grants. Partnering with them to share news of the grants, projects selected, and what we learn alongside them will further strengthen the field of Jewish chaplaincy.

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