The Bronfman Fellowship Alumni Venture Fund Distributes $18,000 in Micro-Grants to Alumni-Led Projects in the U.S. and Israel

July 2023 – The Bronfman Fellowship Alumni Venture Fund (AVF) – a peer-to-peer giving fund supported by donations from the Bronfman alumni community – has announced the grantees for its 19th cycle. The unique international grant-making fund supports projects and programs led by Bronfman alumni in North America and Israel working to make an impact in their communities, and which reflect the core values of the Fellowship. This year, the AVF will distribute $18,000 to nine young alumni.

 “The Alumni Venture Fund brings out the best in the Bronfman community,” said Becky Voorwinde, CEO of The Bronfman Fellowship. “It’s alumni helping alumni apply their diverse passions and talents to have an impact on Jewish life and the world, and it builds a bridge between young Jews in North America and Israel. I’m so inspired by how this diverse community brings its creativity to bear on such a wide range of important issues.”

Launched in 2005, the Bronfman Alumni Venture Fund (AVF) is the first Jewish mini-grant program of its kind, fundraising from North American and Israeli alumni for the sole purpose of re-distributing that funding to alumni-led projects. It aims to grow projects that serve the wider community and perpetuate the values of pluralism, Jewish learning, engagement with Israel and social responsibility; inspire alumni to put their talents into action; and amplify the power of peer support.

As of 2023, the AVF has distributed approximately $358,000 in grants, and has provided valuable peer support to impactful projects led by 189 alumni. Some of the groundbreaking organizations that have received early-stage grants from the AVF include Sefaria, Hadar, and YidLife Crisis.

All grant-making decisions are made by a joint committee of alumni from North America and Israel. The AVF Committee this year included Tamar Chinn (Amitei Bronfman ’11), Michael Colson ’87, Elisheva Gillis (Amitei Bronfman ’09), William Goldberg ’18, Kaitlin Nemeth ’05, and Tamar Shalem (Amitei Bronfman ’10).

Four of this year’s grantees are alumni of the North American Fellowship program, and five are alumni of the program in Israel, Amitei Bronfman. The nine grantees are:

2023 Grantees:

  • Adi Dardickman (Amitei Bronfman ‘11): The Quiet-Island Community is a Facebook group designed to offer a social and non-judgmental space for young people in Israel who struggle with mental health issues.
  • Priscilla Frank ’06: That Paradise Place is an experimental, collaborative puppet musical about the love, sex, and fantasy lives of artists with disabilities. 
  • Intercollegiate Community: Shalhevet Shivyoni aims to offer a sustainable network to explore and engage with traditional Jewish practice in a welcoming environment.
  • Leah Jordan ‘03: Azara: Opening the Beit Midrash is a growing new cross-communal learning initiative that aims to create a culture of Torah learning in the UK across denominations.
  • Itai Kooper (Amitei Bronfman ‘17): Kushta Demilta: A Collection of Essays will focus on the long-neglected teachings of Sephardic Rabbis and leaders in the Yeshiva community.
  • Roei Shalom (Amitei Bronfman ‘14): The children’s book Queen Exactly and King Almost will demonstrate the importance of these two opposing qualities we all possess.
  • Michal Shendar (Amitei Bronfman ‘16): A summer class for students in Israel with no legal status will help them catch up with the skills of their Israeli peers before they start middle school.
  • Aviva Nagosa Terri (Amitei Bronfman ‘02): A PR platform will be developed for her solo play Made in Israel, which focuses on the identity conflict of an Ethiopian teenage girl in Israel.
  • Marnina Wirtschafter ’15: Doom Scroll is a musical web-series about a cynically Jewish 20-something who finds herself magically trapped in the Torah.

To learn more about the projects listed above, visit the AVF current grantees page.

About The Bronfman Fellowship:

The Bronfman Fellowship is a lifelong network that begins with a dynamic, year-long experience for a diverse group of intellectually adventurous Jewish teens from North America and Israel. The Fellowship continues to amplify the impact alumni have on Jewish life and on broader society through Jewish intellectual programming, intergenerational mentorship, and vibrant discourse in a pluralistic community. It was founded in 1987 by Edgar M. Bronfman, z”l, formerly CEO of the Seagram Company Ltd. and a visionary Jewish philanthropist.

For more information about The Bronfman Fellowship, including how to apply, please visit www.bronfman.org.


Contact Information

Stefanie Weisman