Queens College Hillel received a $200,000 Signature Grant Award from The Covenant Foundation, which will be used to expand Sephardi and Mizrahi student life programs at five main CUNY Hillel campuses.
The grant is part of $1.7 million in awards recently announced by the Covenant Foundation, which honors outstanding Jewish educators and supporting creative approaches to programming.
The CUNY Hillels estimate that there are 14,000 Jewish students at the five campuses — Queens College Hillel, Baruch Hillel, Brooklyn Hillel, Hunter Hillel and College of Staten Island Hillel — making the City University of New York the largest Jewish student population in the nation. Of the 14,000 total Jewish students, CUNY Hillel estimates that 4,500 (32 percent) of them are Sephardi or Mizrahi.
The funds will be disbursed over a three-year period and used to support Community Building Projects designed in partnership with Jewish student groups like the Bukharian, Persian and Moroccan Clubs.
It will help to expand Mizrahi LEAD (Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Development), an eight-week course that enables students from Mizrahi and Sephardi backgrounds to explore their heritage and develop their career prospects. Furthermore, prepare a shareable guidebook that includes community building project ideas, the Mizrahi LEAD curriculum, and Jewish text-based conversation guides for professionals and lay leaders.
The project will be led by QC Hillel’s director of community engagement and development, Manashe Khaimov, in coordination with the executive directors of the CUNY Hillels.
“We believe we can help build more inclusive communities, representative of the actual diversity of Jewish life in America,” said Jenna Citron Schwab, executive director of QC Hillel.