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Foundation makes first major grants

The year-old Jim Joseph Foundation made its first major grants, giving $2.5 million to the BBYO Youth Professional Initiative and $2.275 million to birthright israel.The BBYO grant will pay for up to 20 BBYO employees to earn master’s degrees in business, as well as a customized Jewish education, while working for the organization. The goal is to train the next generation of executives at Jewish organizations, BBYO Executive Director Matthew Grossman said. The grant will pay for the MBA and help set up a mentor program. Participants who do not work for a Jewish organization afterward would have to repay a portion of the cost to BBYO. Of the money given to birthright israel, $1 million will be used to fund the free, 10-day Israel trips for those in their last year of eligibility. The rest will be used to for birthright follow-up programs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and the Washington area. The foundation also committed an undisclosed amount of money to two early childhood programs, becoming a founding member of the Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative and seed funder for an initiative to create a cutting-edge early childhood project in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the foundations’ headquarters are located.