Press Releases

JDC Receives Grant to Further Expand West Coast Global Jewish Education, Service Opportunities


Michael Geller / JDC Telephone: (212) 885-0838

Jamie Epstein / JDC Telephone: (212) 885-0849

For Immediate Release

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) — through its Entwine initiative for young Jewish leaders — will further expand its educational and global service opportunities for West Coast Jews in their 20’s and 30’s thanks to grants from the Jim Joseph and Leichtag Foundations. As the region is home to a growing and influential population of young Jews, these combined grants aim to increase the reach of JDC Entwine Global Learning Networks in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Part of the funding will also expand the number of California-based young adults participating in JDC global service programs. Additionally, San Diego will become a hub and center for JDC Entwine programming in California.

“The life-saving work of the JDC continues to be meaningful, relevant and inspiring to multiple generations,” said Charlene Seidle, Leichtag Foundation Vice President and Executive Director. “We are excited about the opportunity to support young people who are passionate about making a difference in the world and particularly pleased that the JDC Entwine West Coast Hub will be housed in San Diego’s North County, connecting global to local.”

Offerings from JDC’s Entwine initiative have quadrupled since it’s founding. In 2012 alone, JDC will have some 500 young Jews participating in short and long term service and study opportunities in over 26 locations globally. In the U.S. — through a series of grassroots, peer-led Global Learning Networks in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San DiegoJDC’s locally based educational opportunities for Jewish young professionals has reached more than 5,000 young Jews to date.

According to Jim Joseph Foundation Board member Phyllis Cook, “A strategic priority of the Jim Joseph Foundation is to identify and support innovative opportunities for relevant, effective Jewish learning. We hope this grant will create opportunities for meaningful peer-to-peer learning around issues of the needs of global Jewry.”

Through JDC Entwine’s continuum of programming, young Jewish adults are serving abroad and creating local education-based programs in the U.S. These programs address poverty, community-building, Jewish education and culture, and development-related challenges in countries like Argentina, Ethiopia, China, Germany, Haiti, India, Israel, Latvia, Russia, Rwanda, Turkey, and Ukraine.

“We are thrilled that the Jim Joseph and Leichtag Foundations — leaders in innovative Jewish community philanthropy — are generously supporting our efforts to involve more young Jews in California in finding solutions to the critical challenges facing overseas Jewish communities,” said JDC CEO Steven Schwager. “From the economic crisis in Greece and Bulgaria, to fostering creative Jewish educational programming in the former Soviet Union, to helping Israel’s most vulnerable populations find work and success, these issues require the passion and dedication of young Jewish adults.”

About JDC

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters.

For more information, please visit

About Entwine

Entwine, an initiative of JDC, is a one-of-a-kind movement of young Jewish advocates, influencers, and leaders, who seek to make a lasting impact on the global Jewish community. Through Entwine, JDC has developed a diverse set of opportunities for young Jews to get involved with global Jewish needs and humanitarian issues. Entwine’s vision is to create a new generation of global Jewish citizens prepared to lead in an ever-changing and increasingly interconnected world. Through education, service, and leadership, Entwine empowers young adults to take responsibility for the global Jewish world.

About The Jim Joseph Foundation

The Jim Joseph Foundation, established in 2006, is committed to a sustained program of grant making in pursuit of a vision that leads to ever-increasing numbers of young Jews engaged in ongoing Jewish learning and choosing to live vibrant Jewish lives. The Foundation uses all of its resources to foster compelling, effective Jewish learning for young Jews in the United States. It has awarded $250 million in its first six years of existence.

About The Leichtag Foundation

Max “Lee” Leichtag and his wife, Andre “Toni” Leichtag, founded the Leichtag Family Foundation in 1991. Today the Leichtag Foundation, based in Carlsbad, California, focuses on combating poverty and increasing self-sufficiency for residents of coastal North County; supporting and inspiring vibrant Jewish life in coastal North County; strengthening education about the Holocaust and its modern-day lessons for tolerance, understanding, and civility; stimulating renewal, service, and social activism in Jerusalem, Israel; and building strong connections and relationships between San Diego and Israel. From the Foundation’s inception in 1991 through March 2012, Leichtag Family Foundation and Leichtag Family Trust grants total more than $65 million to projects and programs in North County, San Diego, Jerusalem, and around the world. Learn more at

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