Memphis Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Memphis Announce Grant Opportunities

Torah MiTzion’s Rabbi Yisrael Wende and Torah MiTzion students bring Israeli culture to Hillels of Memphis graduate students and alumni at a Hanukkah event at the Morris S. Fogelman Jewish Student Center at the University of Memphis. Torah MiTzion is funded in part by a Federation Lemsky Endowment Fund grant.

Memphis Jewish Federation and the Jewish Foundation of Memphis are excited to announce the opening of several 2022 grant opportunities for nonprofit organizations. Federation Lemsky Endowment Fund and Community grants, and Foundation B’nai Tzedek Co-Op grants are open to all qualified Memphis-based non-profits.

Established through the generosity of the late Abe Lemsky, Memphis Jewish Federation’s Lemsky Endowment Fund further enables Federation to strengthen the bonds between Memphis Jews and Israel.

Now in its 30th year, the Lemsky Fund accomplishes this by providing support for a variety of programs and activities, including: financial support for Memphis-based Israel engagement programs across the community; grants for high school teens (Teen Israel Experience) and young adults (Next Stop Israel) to participate in summer and/or study and volunteer programs in Israel; grants to Jewish schools for organized school trips to Israel; needs-based flight subsidies for first-time adult visitors to Israel to participate in organized Memphis trips; and vital funding for special projects in Israel to aid new immigrants, the elderly and Israeli populations at risk sponsored by our overseas partners The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), and World ORT.

Over the last three decades, thousands of Memphians and Israelis have been enriched by the broad array of Lemsky Fund programs here and in Israel.

“I am confident that Abe Lemsky, of blessed memory, would be so proud to see the incredible impact his generous bequest to Memphis Jewish Federation continues to have on the Memphis-Israel relationship,” said Bluma Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein, Executive Vice President of Federation and staff professional for the Lemsky Fund.

All agencies, synagogues, schools, and youth groups in Memphis are eligible to apply for a Lemsky grant to help support a local Israel engagement program. The fund seeks applications for programs that will likely deepen program participants’ understanding of Israel-related issues and increase their solidarity with, concern for, and connection to the people and State of Israel. The fund favors programs that have a connection to JAFI, JDC, and/or World ORT, and are structured with significant collaboration with other agencies.

Applications for local Israel engagement programs will open Thursday, January 13, and are due by the close of business on Monday, March 21. Full guidelines and applications information will be coming soon.

Funded by the Annual Community Campaign and open to Memphis Jewish Federation Strategic Partners, Community Grants fund the operations and programs of the agencies, schools, youth groups, and programs driving Jewish life in Memphis. Local grant funds are used to connect and engage members of the Memphis Jewish community to Jewish life and/or care for the vulnerable and at-risk in our community.

Awarded by a diverse grant committee comprised of lay leaders, Federation’s community grants support BBYO Memphis, Beth Sholom Religious School, Bornblum Jewish Community School, Facing History & Ourselves, Federation Camp Scholarships, Jewish Children’s Regional Service, Margolin Hebrew Academy/Feinstone Yeshiva of the South, the Memphis Jewish Community Center, Memphis Jewish Home & Rehab, Plough Towers, Synagogue Youth Groups, Temple Israel Religious School, and the Wendy & Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service at the MJCC, with over $1 million of local funding. Community Grants Applications open February 1 and are due by March 1.

Students in the B’nai Tzedek teen philanthropy program of the Jewish Foundation of Memphis volunteered at Baron Hirsch Congregation’s Great Sandwich Make in the Spring of 2021. The program received funding from a B’nai Tzedek Co-Op grant. The 2022 grant cycle is open to qualified Jewish non-profits in Memphis and information can be found by clicking here.

During the month of January, non-profit Jewish organizations in Memphis can apply for a B’nai Tzedek Co-Op grant. Over fifty students are enrolled in B’nai Tzedek, the teen philanthropy program at the Jewish Foundation of Memphis. These are teens of bar/bat mitzvah age through high school who are given the great task of reviewing grant applications, interviewing the organizations applying, and then meeting as a group to decide collectively who should receive funding. The funding totals $10,000, money generously provided by an anonymous donor who created the Teen Philanthropy Co-Op Endowment Fund.

Applications are currently open using a new online portal that can be found by clicking this link and will close on January 28, 2022. Last year B’nai Tzedek grants funded welcome baskets for new residents of Plough Towers, multi-sensory items for preschool students at Temple Israel’s Early Learning Center, a new virtual special needs program at Fogelman Jewish Family Service, and much more. Applicants for this grant must be a registered 501(c)3 organization and support Jewish Memphis.

“Being part of a collective grant-making process is a unique opportunity for these students. They learn about our community’s needs and work together as a team to provide thoughtful recommendations. I am honored to lead the teens through this process and can’t wait to see what applications come through in 2022,” said Sarah VanderWalde, Director of the B’nai Tzedek program at the Jewish Foundation of Memphis.

The teens will rank each application on a variety of criteria including consistency with Jewish values, creativity, and clarity, whether the project is needed in the community, and whether it will change the lives of those it serves. Grants will be awarded during a reception scheduled for Monday, March 21, 2022. For more information, email Sarah VanderWalde, Director of Foundation Programs, at, or click here to learn more.

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