December 15, 2010

PACT/EBDI Partnership: A Bridge Connecting Israel and East Baltimore

The Parents and Children Together program – PACT – was launched in 1998 in an effort to address the growing educational crisis within the Ethiopian-Israeli community (recent immigrants to Israel) by reducing the academic, developmental and social gaps between Ethiopian-Israeli children and their veteran Israeli peers. Since piloting PACT in Beersheva over eight years ago, PACT has developed into a national flagship project operating in 14 Israeli cities and benefitting thousands of Ethiopian-Israeli children and their parents. And now, this amazing program is coming to Baltimore!

This is the culmination of a shared dream that began taking shape four years ago. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is proud to have facilitated the partnership between the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and East Baltimore Development, Incorporated (EBDI). This week, we welcome representatives from Israel who are meeting with EBDI officials, and all of the many local stakeholders, to launch this exciting project; PACT will be a model for EBDI’s new Early Learning Center. We are thrilled to be part of what promises to be an historic collaboration benefitting countless lives here in Baltimore for many years to come.

Haifa, Israel Wildfire/Yemin Orde

Thank you all for your expressions of concern for our friends and grantees in Israel following the deadliest fire in Israel’s history. The wildfire scorched an area in the Carmel Mountains outside of Haifa including the youth residential campus of Yemin Orde, a Foundation grantee which provides a “family for life” for adolescent survivors of trauma and displacement. Yemin Orde was founded in 1953 to accommodate Holocaust orphans and immigrant children during the great immigration waves of the fifties. Today, the 77-acre campus is home to more than 500 children from around the world.

Immediately following the fire, the Foundation sent an email blast relaying the latest information to our more than 400 mission trip alumni, many of whom have visited Yemin Orde and met its founder Chaim Peri.

We were relieved to report that everyone is safe and was relocated, but were sorry to learn that approximately 40 percent of the buildings in the village, including the library, were damaged or destroyed. As we indicated in our email blast to Israel mission alumni, we are still assessing what needs Yemin Orde may have (relative to insurance coverage and government intervention, etc.) and we will share that with you.

Below is an aerial overlay provided by USAID giving you a better idea of the area affected by this devastating fire:

Weinberg Foundation Grant Helps Police/Community Fitness

Even Weinberg Foundation Trustee Barry Schloss concedes it was a proposed project that, at first blush, didn’t seem in line with the Foundation’s goals. But at the December 13 dedication of new fitness facilities at the Baltimore Public Safety Training Center in the city’s Park Heights community, Schloss reflected on the very real connection between the vitality of the community and those who protect it.

“The Baltimore City Police are the key element in ensuring the safety and security of our neighborhoods…” said Schloss, “…and without the police, many of the other programs and facilities we support would be unable to function as effectively.”

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation provided a grant of $225,000 for the new fitness equipment at the training center, which will be shared by police and fire personnel. The improvements are part of Baltimore City’s overall $1.5 million renovation of the former Pimlico Middle School, an anchor in the community.

Workforce Development/Baltimore Program Shares in $5.5M

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is one of ten national investors whose leadership and engagement have helped to secure $5.5 million in new federal funding for a program which expands innovative approaches to job training and career support.

Just announced in early December, 10 communities nationwide including Baltimore will share in that funding administered through the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, a Weinberg Foundation grantee. The Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative, housed at the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, will receive $600,000 of the federal funding over two years to add to its investments in training and placing formerly low wage workers in career track jobs in biotechnology, construction, healthcare, and food service/culinary arts. Marci Hunn, Program Director for Workforce Development for the Weinberg Foundation, also serves as a co-chair of the Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative.

Along with the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, other members of the Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative include the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, the Abell Foundation, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. You can learn more about this particular award and related programs by clicking here:

Behind Bars: “Prison Entrepreneurship Program” Provides New Beginnings

Amy Kleine, Program Director for Basic Human Needs, was recently in prison! And we couldn’t have been happier, especially once Amy was able to share her perspective on a great program and experience. She recently visited the Cleveland Correctional Center northeast of Houston, Texas. The facility is home to the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP), a privately-funded nonprofit that provides business, life skills, and character development education to select prisoners in the Texas system. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is one of PEP’s largest funders.

A third of the prison’s beds are now allocated to PEP. Roughly twice a year, at a cost of around $1.5 million per annum, PEP graduates a class of about fifty student-prisoners. In its sixth year, it boasts 650 graduates with remarkable statistics:

  • Only ten percent have been sent back to prison
  • 90 percent have jobs within ninety days of graduation
  • Collectively, the 650 graduates pay an estimated $4 million in taxes annually
  • Those graduates also make up 13% of PEP's donor list, giving back to the organization that gave them a “hand up”

Each five-month PEP class culminates with a two-day business plan competition and graduation ceremony involving dozens of executive volunteers, this year including Amy, who was quoted in a local online news piece. You can read the entire article by clicking here:

Older Adult Services Update

Michael Marcus, Program Director for Older Adult Services, just returned from Israel where he and Foundation Trustee Barry Schloss spent two weeks visiting more than 20 nonprofits. Michael and Barry also volunteered at a few of Be'er-Tuvia Supportive Community’s numerous locations where they did work in member homes and visited a day program for senior adults in Nahariya.   Michael also gave a lecture about the Weinberg Caregiver Initiative. Look for more on this groundbreaking project in the months ahead! Speaking of which…

  • The Foundation’s Family and Informal Caregiver Support Program was featured at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America in New Orleans in mid-November.  The meetings included reports from the evaluators for seven of the Program’s grantee projects.  This was the first time that data from the Family and Informal Caregiver Program was presented publically.
  • The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation’s work among older adults was featured in two workshops at the annual Grantmakers In Aging Conference in October in Chicago.  The two areas highlighted included the Foundation’s pilot project with the UJA (United Jewish Appeal) of New York on Direct Care Worker Training, as well as a presentation on the importance of linking affordable housing with services.  The Foundation has made major gifts in this area including one to the Institute on Aging in San Francisco, detailed in the Foundation’s Annual Report this year. You can see the annual report by clicking here:

Education, Children, Youth & Families, U.S.

The Weinberg Foundation recently approved revised goals for this program area. Among the highlights:

  • In the United States, the Foundation will be funding primarily Baltimore City, Baltimore County, NE Pennsylvania, and Hawaii.  Exceptions may be made if something outside of that geographic focus attracts our interest for replication in Baltimore.
  • The Foundation would consider funding individual schools with career readiness programs and a 501c3 operator.  This includes program funding and small capital grants supporting career readiness. 
  • The Foundation is introducing a more formalized goal of addressing youth homelessness and is interested in building up the capacity of programs to serve homeless youth.
  • The Foundation will now consider requests from arts and sports programs in and out of school in addition to its focus on academic supplemental support in and out of school.

A list of all of our goals in this area, which covers the Foundation’s interest in early childhood education, K-12 education, out of school time and family safety, can be found by clicking on If you have questions about applying in one of these new areas of focus, please be in touch with Amy Gross, Program Director for Education, Children, Youth and Families for the United States at

Recent Grants

Maryland Small Grants Program
The Foundation initiated the Maryland Small Grants Program (MSGP) just over three years ago to help eligible nonprofits more easily and efficiently apply for a grant. In most cases, it takes only 50 days to go from "Our application is enclosed" to "Your check is in the mail." Here are the most recent grantees:

  • Joblink of Maryland, Inc. was awarded an operating grant in the amount of $15,000 to support a workforce development program that provides intake and assessment, career coaching, interview preparation, and job placement. In 2009, the organization placed 84 clients with an aggregate compensation of $4.5 million in fields including accounting, health care, biomedical engineering, and construction.
  • Christmas in April Prince George’s County was awarded a grant in the amount of $15,000 to support a housing rehabilitation program for older adults and disabled low-income residents of Prince George’s County. The program helps clients remain in their homes in a comfortable and safe environment. The organization works with over 3,000 volunteers and aims to rehabilitate 100 homes each year.
  • Maryland Foundation for Dentistry for the Handicapped was awarded an operating grant in the amount of $25,000 to support pro bono dental care for Maryland citizens who are disabled, cannot afford treatment, and who are ineligible for public assistance. 511 dentists provide pro bono care in their own offices and 108 dental labs.
  • South Baltimore Learning Corporation was awarded an operating grant in the amount of $25,000 to support adult literacy services with job training/placement and/or higher education for residents of Baltimore. The agency is the only provider of a high school equivalency diploma program for mature adults who have acquired their academic skills through life and work experiences. In FY2010, the organization served 1,029 unduplicated learners.
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Harford County was awarded an operating grant in the amount of $25,000 to support its core programs at five clubs throughout Harford County. Programs operate after school and during the summer months and offer Character & Leadership Development, Education and Career Development, The Arts, Health & Life Skills, and Sports Fitness and Recreation. In FY2010, the organization served 1,714 unduplicated youth.

Annual Gathering

Thanks again to all who shared in our Annual Community Gathering, November 4, at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. If you were able to attend, we hope you enjoyed the evening celebrating another year of life-changing work in partnership with our many grantees.

Just a reminder that the video highlighting just a few examples of that work is available for viewing on our website, Just click the “See the video…” button on the lower left of our homepage.


© 2010 The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.
All rights reserved.


© 2010 The Harry and Janette Weinberg Foundation.