Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund

By: Amy Adler
KC Topics: 
Coronavirus, Grants

Many of you have been eagerly awaiting more details on the recently announced Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF), a $91 million aligned grant and loan fund.

The JCRIF is a unique collaboration between Jewish foundations, the Federation system, and individual major donors. Over the coming months, JCRIF’s multi-million-dollar support will take two forms: interest-free loans and aligned grantmaking. Prizmah is partnering with JCRIF to help schools and the day school field access and leverage these resources as much as possible within the limits available and target the support where it can impact the most.

JCRIF interest-free loans are designed to provide short-term assistance to buy breathing room and preserve critical organizations, such as schools. The aligned grant program is intended to help the field, with an emphasis on sector-wide or collective change, while also offering certain emergency funds to help prevent the collapse of community institutions.  The JCRIF funders have asked intermediary organizations to work with their constituents on grant proposals and have encouraged proposals from consortiums or collaborations of schools, or intermediaries.

Thankfully, the philanthropists who collaborated to create the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF), understand this and are providing organizations dedicated to education, engagement and leadership the opportunity to access funds for their immediate needs and for creative forward-thinking efforts. On behalf of Jewish day schools, Prizmah is grateful to all the funders who have come together to create the JCRIF: 

Aviv Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, Jim Joseph Foundation, Maimonides Fund, The Paul E. Singer Foundation, Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation and Wilf Family Foundation, in partnership with Jewish Federations of North America.

You can read more about JCRIF by clicking here.


The JCRIF loan fund is designed to be an emergency fund for borrowers and is meant to serve as a bridge to alternative source funding and ordinary course revenues. Loans for an individual institution will generally be a minimum of $150,000. With a total loan pool of approximately $10 million being allocated to day schools, an individual school may request significantly more than the $150,000 minimum. The maximum loan amount will be determined once we have a better indication as to the number of schools applying for loans and the amounts they are asking for. Loans will be provided at 0% interest and are repayable over a 4-year period, with no payments during the first year. In general, the loans are intended for schools and other organizations facing conditions or situations in which these loans could serve as an effective bridge. Before applying, schools should carefully consider the likelihood of future revenues enabling them to repay loans, rather than creating unhelpful pressure on finances. Prizmah can provide guidance on the suitability of a loan for your school following completion of the short intake form below. 

To begin, please complete this Initial School Loan Intake Interest Form by Monday, June 1st.

Following submission of this intake form, schools will be invited to complete part-1 of a two-part loan application. While Prizmah is partnering with JCRIF to help reach schools that might benefit from this program and advising the lenders about specific conditions of day schools, it is the lenders themselves that will review submitted applications. Final loan decisions will consider:

  • A school's capability to meet its obligations under the loan covenants/requirements
  • Access to other Jewish philanthropic support
  • Access to assets including cash, endowments, and building value


The aligned grant program is intended primarily to spur new opportunities, ideas, and technologies related to adaptation to the COVID-19 crisis. Strong applications might include ideas, programs, or services around: conceptualizing and enabling sector-wide change; providing sector- or network-wide support for immediate, emerging needs that result from the crisis; doubling down on promising investments to accelerate communal evolution; preserving and/or revitalizing core programs and assets that are essential to thriving Jewish communities; and advancing strategic transactions, including consolidations, mergers, or structured wind-downs. Grant sizes range from approximately $200,000 to $1 million.

In certain circumstances, the funders may provide emergency funding for institutions experiencing exceptional financial hardship, especially those deemed "essential" to their communities.  While submissions can be done by either individual schools or school consortiums, Prizmah expects to combine and modify certain proposals so that more institutions from more communities are collaborating around a similar idea, concept, or program. By way of example, if Prizmah receives five separate proposals in cost savings related to blended learning, Prizmah may elect to combine and modify the five separate proposals into one or two, larger proposals for submission to the funders.

To begin, please complete the JCRIF Grant Program Intake Form.

The initial Prizmah review of submitted intake forms will begin May 20th and it will remain open until Monday June 1st. 

Prizmah will contact schools regarding next steps after completing the review of all the intake forms.  Based on information provided, Prizmah will extend invitations to move to the next phase in joining collaborative proposals for submission to JCRIF.

The Role of Intermediaries, Central Agencies, and Other Service Providers to Schools

The grant program is intended primarily to provide support for schools as they develop new responses to the myriad of challenges they face as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Intermediaries, central agencies, and other service providers can play an important role in convening schools and in catalyzing collaborations among them.

Intermediaries, central agencies, and service providers may submit grant proposals, but such proposals must be on behalf of one or more schools who have committed to working with the agency on the idea, program, or service that is being proposed. It is Prizmah's belief that the grant funders will look more favorably on applications where intermediaries, central agencies, or service providers are contributing their own resources (financial and "in-kind") in collaboration with the schools.


A recording of the webinar about the JCRIF program on May 13th along with the slide deck and notes can be found by clicking here.  


If you have questions about the loans or the grants you can visit the JCRIF FAQ page, or contact us at