Jewish Federation’s Steeltree Fund Grants $12,000 to Three Organizations

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s SteelTree Fund will give three organizations a total of $12,200 for graduate students, a women’s study retreat and a graphic novel about the Holocaust. The funding came as part of the first of four rounds for 2018–19 from SteelTree, the Federation’s micro-grant program.

SteelTree board members funded the Jewish Graduate Student Initiative: Pittsburgh Chapter Start Up, Chabad of Squirrel Hill: Women’s Weekend Retreat and Holocaust Center: Chutz Pow vol. 4.

Co-Chair of the SteelTree Board Mark Pizov believes this is only the start of quality projects for the year.

“This year’s SteelTree Board proved to be another great group of individuals. For our first meeting, we allocated funds to three different organizations which reached a wide range of Young Adult communities within Pittsburgh Jewish. We are looking forward to our next three sessions throughout the year with hopes of receiving even more wonderful applications,” Pizov said.

The SteelTree board also agreed on three goals for the year: creating a new project evaluation tool to better measure the group’s impact, learning about Federation investments and networking.

Unanimously, the SteelTree board awarded $5,000 to the Jewish Graduate Student Initiative: Pittsburgh Chapter Start Up. The Pittsburgh chapter will join 43 chapters on university campuses nationwide. The SteelTree members loved the organization’s record of success, funding model and willingness to collaborate with other organizations targeting young adults.

Chabad of Squirrel Hill: Women’s Weekend Retreat received $3,600. They will adapt the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) retreat model for a local crowd of women of all ages.

The Holocaust Center: Chutz Pow vol. 4 also received unanimous support from the board and $3,600. Chutz Pow has become SteelTree’s signature project. With the creation of a fourth volume, the Holocaust Center will produce a trade paperback that collects all of the issues and is highly marketable to libraries and bookstores.

The SteelTree Fund, which combines support for the Jewish Federation’s Community Campaign with support from the Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation, enables SteelTree board members to make a collective impact by designating micro-grants to local organizations and agencies.

Over the past five years, the SteelTree board has created a vision, a set of values, a detailed scorecard and an evaluation process that help ensure the selection of deserving fundable projects. Grant proposals are measured on their potential impact on the community, degree of innovation and the extent to which the project would benefit local Jewish youth, teens and young adults.

In 2017–18, the SteelTree Fund distributed $42,000 to support innovative community projects. Examples include Shpielburgh’s Book of Ruth Shavuot Shpiel that was funded $3,600, Community Day School’s Senses of Sukkot Festival that was funded $3,600 and Bnai Emunoh Chabad’s Jewish Food Festival that was funded $2,500.

Three more rounds of funding remain to offer additional opportunities for organizations to apply for grants. Twenty-seven thousand eight hundred dollars is left for these rounds. Application deadlines for each round, respectively, are October 30, 2018, January 29, 2019 and April 16, 2019. The contact for grant information is Shelly Parver, Assistant Planning Director, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh (412.992.5207 or sparver@jfedpgh.org).

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