Covenant Foundation grant will spur innovation in Jewish early childhood education

The Community Foundation for Jewish Education of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago has received a Signature Grant from The Covenant Foundation to launch The Chicago Teachers Project: A Laboratory for Jewish Early Childhood Education. 

"The new initiative will attract and serve as the innovative training ground for a new generation of teachers in Jewish early childhood education," said Anna Hartman, CFJE's Director of Early Childhood Excellence, who will serve as project director.

The Chicago Teachers Project is one of nine Covenant Foundation Signature Grants awarded this year. The grants support Jewish organizations and initiatives with novel and imaginative approaches to Jewish learning and wide geographic reach. 

"These new grants combine creative visions with robust program designs," said Cheryl R. Finkel, Chair of the Board of Directors of The Covenant Foundation. "They introduce fresh ideas in diverse domains of Jewish learning and hold exciting potential to inspire communities across North America."

Applications sought

The Chicago Teachers Project is now recruiting Fellows both locally and nationally; Fellows will assume full-time co-teaching positions in six high-quality Jewish early childhood centers in the Chicago area,. During each of the program's two years, the Fellows will learn and reflect together in a retreat, a summer intensive, monthly seminars, biweekly meetings with the cohort, and biweekly visits by mentor teacher.

"Ideal candidates for the program are recent Jewish college graduates who are bright, passionate, and seeking meaningful full-time employment. Candidates who have demonstrated a commitment to Jewish life will be strongly considered, due to their expected ability to impart an authentic appreciation for Jewish living," Hartman said.

Applications for the fellowship, which provides competitive compensation and benefits, are due March 6, 2017. CFJE also is seeking host schools and mentor teachers. Prospective candidates should email or call (312) 673-3265.

"As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we're both taking stock of the remarkable impact a quarter century of grant-making has had on the field and taking the long view forward into the future," said Harlene Appelman, Executive Director of The Covenant Foundation.

The Community Foundation for Jewish Education of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago serves as JUF's department of Jewish Education. CFJE's mission is to advance imaginative, compelling, collaborative, and experiential Jewish education. The Covenant Foundation is a program of the Crown Family Philanthropies. The foundation is currently inviting 2017 Signature and Ignition grant applications. Visit for information and guidelines.

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