Youth Engagement

Informing Change works with organizations that support youth and young adults in their development into fully-contributing members in their communities and society at large. Our work addresses what it means to be active and present in society—now and into the future—recognizing that the youth and young adult years are critical in the formation of personal identity, values and behaviors that will endure a lifetime.

We look at engagement within specific communities defined by geography, culture, and socio-economics, as well as across communities. We are passionate about expanding opportunities for all youth and young adults to find personally compelling and meaningful ways to be active in community life and problem solving.

Our work in this area spans issues of youth development, leadership development, youth philanthropy, identity formation, and community participation through community service and volunteerism.

Through this work, we aim to contribute to the knowledge base and action planning that supports youth and young adults from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances to develop a sound understanding of themselves and their role and contribution to their community and society around them.

Read about our work:

The Hard Work Behind the Magic of Camp: Results & Learnings from the FJC Specialty Camps Incubator II

Building on the success of its first pilot cohort, the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) Specialty Camps Incubator II supported four new Jewish specialty camps in moving from merely ideas to actual, functioning camps. Funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation and the AVI CHAI Foundation, the Incubator supported these camps based on the premise that combining Jewish camp values with specialty programs could draw more young people into the world of Jewish camp.

To continue to test and refine ... Learn more »

Denver-Boulder Jewish Teen Initiative Evaluation: Year One Report

Like many Jewish communities, the Denver Metro area has experienced declining numbers of post-bar and bat mitzvah-aged youth participating in Jewish life. The Jewish Life Committee of Rose Community Foundation and Allied Jewish Federation sought re-invigorate Jewish life for teens in the area. After gathering feedback and data to identify the communities’ highest needs in engaging this group of Jewish youth, they set out to create more proactive grantmaking opportunities that support teen-centered, collaborative communities where teens can be their ... Learn more »

Finding New Paths for Teen Engagement and Learning: A Funder Collaborative Leads the Way

Our case study on the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative shares what we have learned in studying the process and accomplishments of a group of local and national funders from ten different communities, all bound by a common overarching pursuit, but each with their own goals, strategies and structures. It details the Collaborative’s genesis (which was prompted by our study, Effective Strategies for Educating and Engaging Jewish Teens), membership benefits and key elements to the Collaborative’s early success.

Ellen Irie, along with Collaborative ... Learn more »

New Jewish Specialty Camps: From Idea to Reality

In 2008 the Jim Joseph Foundation invested $10 million to create and develop new specialty camps for Jewish teens, using the concept of an incubator for a small cohort of camp entrepreneurs.  The Incubator was entrusted to the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC), which took on the challenge to help create new summer camps that would attract Jewish teens not attending other Jewish camps. In 2009, the Jim Joseph Foundation engaged Informing Change to design and implement a multi-year evaluation ... Learn more »

The State of Volunteering in North American Jewish Not-for-Profit Organizations

In 2011, Repair the World commissioned the first major assessment of the state of volunteering in the Jewish not-for-profit community. A group of New York University graduate students from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service designed and distributed the survey, resulting in over 200 responses.

Informing Change then analyzed this data to produce a brief report of key findings for Repair the World and the broader Jewish not-for-profit community. These results helped to establish important baselines and identify opportunities ... Learn more »

Effective Strategies for Educating and Engaging Jewish Teens: What Jewish Communities Can Learn from Programs That Work

On behalf of the Jim Joseph Foundation, Informing Change collaborated with Rosov Consulting to conduct a body of research around teen education programs, identifying leading efforts inside and outside of the Jewish world that are engaging young people in experiences that are relevant, meaningful and ongoing. Twenty-one programs were chosen for inclusion in a scan of programs, including eight Jewish programs for teens and two for young adults, ages 20–40, along with eleven secular and other faith-based programs for teens ... Learn more »

Key Learnings from Nadiv’s Launch & The Nadiv Story Unfolding

The Nadiv Program (Nadiv) is an innovative pilot made possible by a partnership between the Jim Joseph Foundation and the AVI CHAI Foundation and is operated by The Foundation for Jewish Camp. The collaborative Nadiv partnership created six new Jewish educator positions, Nadiv Educators, which are shared between Jewish summer camps and schools.

In these memos, Informing Change documents and summarizes the story of Nadiv and offer key learnings from its development and early implementation. The first memo, The Nadiv Story, ... Learn more »

Jewish Student Connection: 2011–12 Evaluation Findings

Jewish Student Connection (JSC) aims to serve as a catalyst for Jewish teens to take ownership of their Jewish future by creating in-school educational experiences in public and private high schools. JSC’s student-run clubs provide opportunities for teens to build community, learn about Jewish history and Israel, and gain access to the Jewish community outside their high school.

In 2010, three national and regional funders engaged Informing Change to assess the programmatic and organizational growth of JSC in four regions: Chicago, ... Learn more »

The Jewish Resource Specialist Program Year 1 Evaluation Findings

The Jewish Resource Specialist Program (JRS) is a flagship professional development initiative of the Early Childhood Education Initiative (ECEI) of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. JRS was designed to deepen the overall Jewish experience in early childhood Jewish educational institutions and support parents in making Jewish choices for their families.

This report presents evaluation findings from the initial implementation of JRS in the 2011–2012 school year, including key achievements and challenges. This evaluation ... Learn more »

The Worth of What They Do

As part of its efforts in building the field of Jewish service-learning, Repair the World commissioned Informing Change to conduct an exploratory study on the impact of short-term immersive Jewish service-learning (IJSL) on the organizations and communities that host these groups.

The study included interviews with representatives of host community CBO/NGOs involved in IJSL projects in the US, Israel, Nicaragua, Ghana and Ukraine as well as an in-depth review of recent relevant research and writing about best practices in secular and ... Learn more »

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