It was weeks before camp started, but on Sunday, June 11, Gear Up for Camp Day brought 1,700 people -- including 500 campers and their families -- to The Federation's Camp Max Straus, run by Jewish Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Campers filled laundry bags with camp necessities -- sunscreen, T-shirts, hats, socks, towels -- most donated by local businesses. Federation staff and volunteers, as well as staff from Jewish Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Camp Max Straus, helped distribute the goods.
This was the first time the event was held at the nonsectarian overnight camp in Glendale, giving parents a chance to see where their kids would spend the summer. The day also featured carnival rides, live entertainment and food.
The Federation is helping 1,100 underprivileged kids go to camp this summer, including those who will attend Max Straus -- which offers one- and two-week stays to at-risk youth from the L.A. area -- and some Jewish children, mostly immigrants from Iran and Russia, who will attend Jewish camps on Federation scholarships.
For more information, call (323) 761-8320.
Arts in L.A. Gets a Push
Arts Education in L.A.-area public schools is getting a boost from the Jewish community, as the Jewish Community Foundation and The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation recently announced support for Los Angeles County's Arts for All initiative. Adopted by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors in 2002, Arts for All seeks to restore arts education slashed with the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978.
The Jewish Community Foundation, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, launched the Arts in Schools Giving Circle to try to raise $100,000 from individual donors by the end of 2006.
The Giving Circle hopes to provide matching grants to fund more than 150 arts residency programs serving approximately 4,000 K-12th grade students in 14 Los Angeles County public schools.
Seeded by a grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Giving Circle is the first opportunity for individual donors to participate in the Arts for All Pooled Fund, a consortium of foundations and corporations.
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation announced a $100,000 gift to the Pooled Fund in May. Of this, $50,000 will support the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District's plan over the next three years to hire an arts coordinator and to develop arts curriculum and arts education training for district teachers. The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation supports initiatives involving healthcare, access to college, Jewish programs in Los Angeles, and established a chair in Israel studies at UCLA.
For further information about the JCF Giving Circle, call program officer Amelia Xann at (323) 761-8714 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, call (310) 449-4500. For information on Arts for All, visit www.lacountyarts.org.
Birthright Reaches 100,000
This month, the 100,000th 18- to 26-year-old will participate in a free, educational trip to Israel, thanks to Taglit-Birthright, a 6-year-old program supported by United Jewish Communities, the Israeli government and 14 philanthropists.
Internal research has shown that the program is meeting its goals of solidifying participant's Jewish identity and connection to Israel, and has also generated more than $182 million in revenue for the Israeli economy.
But the program might be a victim of its own success: This summer, 15,000 applicants were turned away, when a record 25,000 youth applied for just 12,000 spots.
For information, call (888) 994-7723 or visit www.birthrightisrael.com.
Teens on the Beltway
Rabbi Morley Feinstein of University Synagogue in Brentwood accompanied the synagogue's confirmation class to Washington D.C., to participate in the L'Taken Seminar of the Religious Action Center of the Union for Reform Judaism last month.
The study and action program was attended by 250 students, who culminated the conference by meeting with congressional staffers to advocate on behalf of issues such as Darfur, immigration and the death penalty.
Also attending were teens from Temple Beth Torah of Ventura, Temple Beth Sholom of Santa Ana, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills and Temple Israel of Hollywood.