Yes, grant proposals will be considered for an event that will excite the membership to return to shul.
Can multiple institutions work together and submit a joint proposal?
Yes, a submission by a group of synagogues will be considered and is actively encouraged. The combined proposal should include a plan that is agreed upon by all applicants for disbursement of funds.
What is the time frame in which the program or initiative must be completed?
Programs or initiatives must begin in 2021 but may run through June 2022.
Which demographic should my program target?
Programs can be geared to any shul demographic. They may be geared to a specific demographic – teens through seniors or may be open to all.
Will the OU consider a project or initiative that is not a program?
Yes. Any initiative, program or project that will re-engage members in the synagogue or synagogue communal life will be considered.
Is the project required to be a NEW initiative or program?
The project is eligible if it is a first-time program at the institution that is submitting the specific proposal, if it is a pre-existing program which will be significantly revised to meet the new reality, or if it is clear that this program will “jump start” shul attendance which will continue after the program runs its course.
When will funds be distributed?
Payments will be distributed within 2 weeks of the award announcements.
Is my project eligible if the if I do not expect the entire budget to be covered by the OU grant?
Yes. Grant disbursements will be up to $5000. As the goal of this program is to partner with synagogues to bring members back to the pews, synagogues should consider funding models where the OU’s contribution is joined by local funds.
What will I need to provide to the OU once my synagogue or organization has been awarded the funds?
Synagogues or organizations that receive funding through the Grant Initiative must commit to submit an updated budget and a detailed spending report. Upon completion of the program they must complete a short evaluation form. Grant recipients will share their ideas and potentially present their program to serve as advisors to other synagogues or institutions that are interested in replicating the program.
Is my organization eligible?
The grant is open to Orthodox synagogues and community nonprofits in North America. Synagogues are not required to be OU members in order to be considered for the grant.
Can an eligible organization receive more than one grant as part of the this challenge grant? Is there a maximum amount of funds that an individual organization or project may receive?
One program from each organization will be funded at a maximum of $5000. Organizations may submit more than one proposal.
What if all the grant funding is not distributed?
While the OU anticipates that all funding will be distributed, on the occasion that there are not enough eligible proposed programs, the remaining funds will be returned to the OU.
With the pandemic keeping so many of our community members away from our synagogues, it is imperative that we think together as a community to re-imagine the synagogue experience in a way that excites and motivates members to return. At the same time, it is important to use creative messaging strategies to reignite the passion in our community members to reconnect to our synagogues. It is especially important to focus on engaging all segments of our community, including youth, women and seniors who have had even fewer outlets over the course of the pandemic to re-engage in synagogue life. We hope to partner with you to remind our community members of the beauty that can only occur in the context of a Beit Kenesset. We urge you to consider implementing programs that appeal to a variety of different demographics whether they be focused on social interaction, tefillah, chesed or learning. We also encourage communities to work together on joint proposals that may be implemented in multiple synagogues and cities.
Through this grant initiative we hope to create a centralized resource bank, sharing your ideas with the entire North American community, so that we can all benefit from the innovation emanating from within our Kehillot.