High in the hills of Bel Air, at the Italian-style villa of Hayley and Michael Miller, an investment adviser and attorney, The Jewish Community Foundation (JCF) feted 13 recipients of its Cutting Edge Grants — which dared community leaders to “think big” — along with IKAR founding rabbi, Sharon Brous, recipient of the foundation’s first Inspired Leadership Award in 2008.
The JCF recognized a diverse bunch at the May 24 reception — from more traditional, established organizations like StandWithUs, the Museum of Tolerance and American Jewish Committee, to newer start-ups aimed at the young professional set, such as the Iranian American activist group 30 Years After and the popular music and events producer JDub Records. The Foundation also supported several special-needs programs, including HaMercaz, which provides special-needs assistance and advocacy, and Nes Gadol, which makes it possible for children on the autism spectrum to celebrate their b’nai mitzvah. Other organizations awarded the $150,000-$250,000 grants were LimmudLA, The Jewish Artists Initiative, Jewish World Watch, BJE, The Jewish Federation and Jumpstart.
Representatives of at least three organizations supported by the JCF were at the White House on May 27 for the Obama administration’s first-ever Jewish American Heritage Month reception — Shawn Landres (co-founder, Jumpstart), Aaron Bisman (CEO, JDub records) and Rabbi Brous (IKAR).
Brous, who also received a $100,000 donor-advised award in 2008, expressed her gratitude with a caveat: “We have to get creative and get creative fast,” Brous challenged the group. “Otherwise, I believe there are dark days ahead. But if we raise the bar, people [will] respond and come in droves.”