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.”