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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 of the Incubator, assessing whether and how the Incubator was achieving its intended outcomes. Between 2009 and 2013, Informing Change tracked the course of how the Incubator and five new camps made the journey from idea to reality.

Based on the successes of this five-year pilot initiative, the AVI CHAI Foundation has partnered with the Jim Joseph Foundation to fund a second FJC Specialty Camps Incubator, which is currently guiding the creation of four new camps opening in Summer 2014.

In this report and executive summary, the Jim Joseph Foundation shares the key findings of Informing Change’s evaluation and the key implications and suggestions for future investments in youth camps, Jewish teen education, incubators and other projects with similarities to the Incubator.