Introducing Smart Money: Recommendations for an Educational Technology and Digital Engagement Investment Strategy

March 15, 2017

Source: eJewish Philanthropy 


In just a few days, Jewish philanthropists, foundation professionals and communal leaders will join together in Atlanta at the Jewish Funders Network (JFN) 2017 conference. We will learn, question, and explore a range of topics of import to our collective work. For our foundations – the Jim Joseph Foundation and William Davidson Foundation – JFN 2017 will provide a special opportunity to share and discuss just-released findings from Smart Money: Recommendations for an Educational Technology and Digital Engagement Investment Strategy, a new report based on research conducted by Lewis J. Bernstein and Associates this past year.

Our foundations chose to commission this study to address a core set of questions that feel pertinent in a world where technology has become such a prevalent part of our daily lives. How are new technological developments affecting learning – and Jewish learning in particular? How might funders develop the expertise to invest strategically in new tools, and in the people developing those tools, to advance our Jewish educational missions?

Initially, we intended this report to be solely for our foundations’ internal purposes. However, after reviewing it, we understood that the learnings are highly relevant to others in the field: funders, practitioners, community leaders and anyone interested in how tools of Ed Tech could advance cultural and religious learning and engagement.

The report offers fascinating insights that begin to answer the big questions with which we wrestle. And it brings to the fore new questions as well. Divided into two sections, Smart Money first includes a set of recommendations for funders to consider, such as investment strategies, priorities, different structures for collaborations, and more. The second section provides a landscape analysis of educational technology and digital engagement tools and trends – both secular and Jewish. We find this section to be of particular interest, as it showcases the field’s efforts to date, the vast room for growth, and successful models from the secular world that we could adapt to Jewish contexts. As a whole, we believe Smart Money is a substantive starting point to explore this space and to build collaborations around shared interests to leverage these new tools to their fullest.

Finally, just as the findings and recommendations in Smart Money already have spurred us to advance this conversation publicly, we hope they also inspire you to consider dedicating time and resources to learn more and experiment with these ideas. We hope that together we can find new ways to use these powerful tools to help advance our collective work within the Jewish community and beyond.

Read the entire article at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Apr. 05, 2017