San Francisco Jewish Funder Gets a New CEO, Has Bay Area Initiatives

We recently got wind that a major funder of Jewish organizations in the Bay Area got a new CEO, which led us to look into this group a little more closely.

Back in May, the Jewish Community Federation & Endowment Fund of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties hired the CEO of Slow Food for Fast Lives to serve as its CEO as well. Danny Grossman steps into the shoes of Jim Offel, who was the interim CEO after Jennifer Gorovitz resigned last year.

This new direction is interesting because Grossman comes from a background of energy bars, toy companies and government. Past work experience includes Aviva Sports, Wild Planet Entertainment, and the Department of State. Over the years, the San Francisco native has served on the boards of lots of local organizations, including the Jewish Community Relations Council, Business Advisory Council for the San Francisco Unified School District, and the Human Rights Commission of San Francisco.

But in his new role at the Jewish foundation, he will be overseeing tens of millions of dollars of grantmaking in the Bay Area, Israel, and elsewhere overseas. In the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the federation awarded over $22 million in direct grants through its annual campaign and over $160 million through donor-advised funds and supporting foundations under its management. Fundraising has become an increasingly more important part of the Federation’s giving strategy, as it raised $104.2 million in private funds in 2013an 18 percent increase from 2012.

So what are the federation and its new CEO looking for in new grantees this year?

Direct grants are made through the Federation’s Annual Operating Fund, which includes one fund specific to the Bay Area. In 2013-2014, the Federation funded $3.2 million in Bay Area grants related to these categories: Reducing Barriers and Increasing Access to Jewish Life, Regional Impact Grants Initiatives, Targeted Engagement, and Internal Programs and Services.

Some representative local grant recipients include the following:

  • Bay Area Jewish Healing Center
  • Chabad of Greater South Bay
  • Kehillah Jewish High School
  • Congregation Rodef Sholom
  • Tikva Children's Home

The federation has identified a few needs that aren’t being met in the Jewish community and created some initiatives to support them. Pretty much all of these initiatives are relevant to Bay Area nonprofits. 

  • The Affordability Project – provides need-based scholarships to Bay Area kids and teens for preschool, day school, summer camp, and Israel trips
  • Early Childhood education in the Bay Area
  • Bay Area Children with Special Needs
  • Bay Area Senior Citizen Care and Engagement
  • The Jewish Community Memorial Garden – located at the Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma outside of San Francisco.

You can see a list of Bay Area Israel Education organizations that the Federation supports on its website.

It’s important to note that while some funding opportunities are open to the public, others are available by invitation only. Check the Apply for Grants page for a list of current grant opportunities and contact Program Officer Ilana Kaufman at ilanak@sfjcf.org or 415-512-6285 with questions.