Jewish of Color Initiative is now an independent non-profit organization – J.

Based in the Bay Area Jews of Color Initiative is set to become an independent 501(c)3 organization, effective July 1.

Founded in Berkeley as the Jewish of Color Field Building Initiative five years ago, the organization has since gained a national profile for its grantmaking, research on the demographics of American Jewry, and leadership programs for non-white Jews.

Last year, director Steven Spielberg donated $200,000 to the nonprofit, along with nine other organizations focused on social justice.

Ilana Kaufman

Nonprofit status will allow greater flexibility in fundraising for the organization, said executive director Ilana Kaufman, and the ability “to better serve our beneficiaries, to work in collaboration with partner organizations and more easily engage researchers, consultants and other contractors essential to our work.”

Previously, JoCI sought private funding, but the non-profit status opens new doors for the organization.

“We are thrilled to reach this point,” Kaufman added. “It reflects the strength of our organization and our endurance – and it’s a benchmark we set in our strategic plan years ago. It’s incredibly rewarding to see this moment come to fruition.

Supported by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, the Jim Joseph Foundation, the SF-based Federation of Jewish Community, and other donors, the Jews of Color Initiative engages in grantmaking, research and community education to create greater community awareness and support for Jews of Color.

Resource materials published by JoCI cover topics such as white supremacy, racial justice, embracing the diversity of the Jewish community, and vacation guides.

Aubrey L. Morgan