Announcing 2012 New Media Grantees!

We’re delighted to announce Natan’s 2012 New Media grantees. After reviewing nearly 70 applications and narrowing down the pool to 7 finalist organizations, Natan’s New Media committee has ultimately awarded grants to 3 organizations, as well as augmenting other Natan grant committees’ grants to organizations working in the new media space. Brief descriptions of the grantees are below.

Overall in 2012, Natan is making 47 grants to 48 organizations and individuals in Jewish communities around the world. You can read more about the entire 2012 grants portfolio on our website.

Council of Young Jewish Presidents’ Jewish Engagement Portal will be a multifaceted mobile application enabling people in New York City to search and access information about Jewish events and volunteer opportunities, customized to their interests and locations.

Jewish Farm School’s Feast FWD will be a web platform that will feature a viral video web series with celebrity presenters and educational material that will connect food, the environment, and Jewish texts and values.

Jewrnalism is a new organization based in Krakow, Poland that will provide multimedia training to young Central and European Jewish “citizen-journalists” to enable them to create new media reports chronicling the life and work of their home Jewish communities.

In addition to funding the below projects, Natan’s New Media committee also allocated a portion of its funds to three exciting New Media projects in other grant areas: G-dcast,, and Jewgether.




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Dear Friends,

Sorry we’ve been so out of touch!

We’re pleased to announce that Natan has selected seven New Media finalists to advance to the final presentation stage.  Unfortunately we can’t release their names right now – but we’re excited that they represent a range of brand new and emerging initiatives, all of which are developing new and creative ways of using New Media technologies.

Of course, along with choosing finalists comes the difficult job of turning so many great ideas down.  We’ve done that now, so if you’re an applicant and haven’t heard from us one way or the other, please let us know ASAP.  No matter what your application status, we want to express our sincere thanks to all of the applicants for taking the time to share their visions, plans and ideas with us.

We hope to reflect later – when the process is concluded – on the kinds of applications we received and how they meshed, or didn’t mesh, with our funding goals.   Generally, we can tell you that of the almost 70 applications we received, most came from existing nonprofit organizations using New Media technologies to expand their impact and increase their presence, with a handful coming from new initiatives or individuals.  One thing that’s very clear from the pool of applicants is that there’s a huge need in the Jewish community for funds to upgrade the technological capabilities of nonprofit organizations.  Natan alone doesn’t have the kind of resources it’ll take to solve this problem, so we’re looking forward to discussing it with other funders and with all of you as time goes on.

A word about timing: we’re obviously not on the same timeline we had hoped to be at this point, which we regret!  The overwhelming number of applications to this and to our other grant committees has delayed our timing, and we’ve decided to put the New Media applications onto the same timeline as our other committees.  As such, we’ll be notifying organizations about their final grant status by December 31, and we’ll be announcing the full list publicly in early January 2012.

Shabbat Shalom!



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Natan’s New Media grant application is officially closed. We received nearly 70 applications from across the spectrum of Jewish life and in a plethora of New Media platforms.

Thanks to everyone who joined us in this blogging experiment and helped spread the word about our New Media grants. We would also like to thank all of the applicants who worked diligently to share their ideas with us. We can’t wait to read your proposals!

Natan will be reviewing proposals over the summer and announcing the grantees by the end of October. In the meantime, keep checking back to our blog for updates, random thoughts, and any comments about the process. We encourage you to share your thoughts with us along the way.

We’re excited to see what this pilot round of New Media grants has in store and we’re looking forward to sharing the results with you.

And to all of you celebrating, have a wonderful 4th of July weekend and a Shabbat Shalom!


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Now accepting proposals!

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments! We’ve incorporated many of your suggestions into the application materials and we’re delighted to announce that we are now accepting proposals. You can download our Request for Proposals and further instructions here. Applications are due by 5pm ET on Thursday, June 30, 2011.

We’re looking forward to sharing the results with you later in the year!


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An Experiment in Crowdsourcing

New media are transforming the way that people live, learn, and interact with others.  Digitized information, created by anyone, sharable instantly, accessible at any time, and usually interactive in some way, has changed both the ways that 21st century people behave and their expectations about accessing information and interacting with other people.

To gain a better understanding about the ways that new media can be used to engage people in Jewish life, Natan is launching a New Media grant area for 2011.  Natan’s New Media grants will support cutting-edge projects that use new media to

  • create new access points to Jewish life and learning,
  • build Jewish communities, and/or
  • inspire and enable people to be a part of Jewish life.

In this pilot round of the New Media grants, Natan expects to give away about $100,000 in grants ranging from $10,000 – $40,000.

In keeping with the ethos of the field, and inspired by calls for funders to “open up to new inputs” (as the Monitor Institute puts it in this report), Natan is experimenting with crowdsourcing the application materials for this new grant program.  We’ve also learned a lot from our colleagues at the Jewish New Media Innovation Fund, which has helped us to rethink the way we usually do our grantmaking.

Until 5pm on Wednesday, May 18, on this blog, our draft application materials are open to public commentary.  In the “New Media Discussion Board” tab above you will find a description of our intended process, our grant application, and our guidelines. You are welcome to comment or ask questions, whether you’re a new media theorist or practitioner, a Jewish communal professional, a funder, a new media user – or just an interested observer!  We’ll integrate what we’ve learned in this commentary period into our final application materials.

Some questions you might want to think about as you read through our materials:

1)   What do you think of the application questions and format?  We’ve tried to craft a brief, creative application that would enable a diverse pool of applicants to succeed – not just non-profit organizations accustomed to writing foundation grant applications.

2)   What do you think of the timeline?  Recognizing the accelerated pace of change in this field, we’ve shortened our usual decision-making timeline considerably – from our usual 9 month process down to 5.

3)   What do you think of the application process – an application submission followed by an in-person (or video) presentation for the finalists?

4)   As with all of our grants, Natan is seeking to get the most “bang for our buck” – we’re looking for the greatest possible return on our philanthropic investments.  Given that, what do you think we should be looking for?  And what should we be avoiding?

5)   What metrics should Natan and the grant recipients be using to measure the success of these grants?

The members of Natan thank you in advance for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. We’re looking forward to creating an even better application process thanks to your feedback!

Comment Instructions:
Click on the “New Media Discussion Board” tab above. Use the comment box below the blogpost to give us feedback. Your comments will be public and anyone will have the opportunity to respond. Please keep all comments concise and respectful.  If you would prefer not to share your comments publicly, email them to us at

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