The Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley is proud to offer Chai Starter innovation grants to local Jewish organizations and agencies.  The purpose of the Chai Starter grants is to encourage innovative thinking in addressing some of the important unmet needs in the South Bay Jewish community (Sunnyvale to Gilroy). 


Application Process

Application Process – NEW PROPOSALS

Grant requestors must complete an online application.  Applications will be evaluated based on how well they address the funding priorities (see below for priorities and scoring criteria).  The application can be found here.  Please note:  No single organization may submit more than 3 grant requests.


Application Process – RENEWALS

Programs that received funding in 2018 and wish to apply for a second year of funding must complete an online application indicating the performance of the program, achievement of objectives, and budget.  Renewal of grants will be based on the assessment of current year performance.  Renewal applications can be found here.


Collaborative Proposals

The Federation encourages collaboration among agencies/organizations;  requests for multi-agency collaborations may be awarded up to a maximum of 30 bonus points.  If submitting a multi-agency proposal, a primary agency must be identified who will be responsible for driving the program and administering the grant. 


Application Deadline

All applications must be submitted no later than 5 pm on Friday, January 31, 2020.


Multi-Year Funding

Proposals that require multi-year funding from this grant cycle will be accepted; funding for subsequent years will be contingent on review of the program’s prior year(s).


Funding Priorities

The Federation Board of Directors has identified four key priority areas for funding for this year.  The Board is seeking proposals for programs that “move the needle” in at least one of the following areas:

  • Jewish Education and Identity:  Programs that focus on building a sense of Jewish identity with individuals.  Includes early childhood through adult education, and identity programs such as Jewish summer camps and cultural events.
  • Human Needs:  Programs that address the social service needs of the most vulnerable in our community.
  • Engaging and Connecting Jews:  Programs that establish connections both with Jewish institutions and between Jews in community, with particular focus on young families and young adults.
  • Leadership Development: Includes programs to develop new leadership at all levels of the community.


Criteria and Scoring

The following criteria will be used to evaluate each application:


Criteria                                                                                                            Total Possible Points

  • Alignment with Stated Priorities                                                                            35

     How well does the program align with one (or more) of the stated priorities?  

  • Fills an Unmet Community Need                                                                           30

     Does the program fill an unmet community need (whether one of the stated priorities

      or another identified need in the community)?

  • Impact                                                                                                                    20

How significant an impact does this make on the community, as measured by either

number of people impacted or the depth of the experience of those impacted?          

  • Innovative in design                                                                                               15

How is this proposal addressing a need in a creative, innovative fashion?

                                                                                                                        Possible Extra Points  

  • Multi-organization collaboration                                                                           30


Application Requirements:

  • Applicants should be able to demonstrate positive measurable outcomes.
  • Applicants must acknowledge the Federation in all publicity surrounding the funded program.
  • Applicants may NOT apply for funding for existing programs in their current form, but may apply for funding to enhance or expand current programming.


To Qualify, Applicants Must

  • Have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.  (Proposals not affiliated with a 501(c)(3) organization may request that the Federation act as their agent.)
  • Have a mission that is consistent with the mission of the Federation.
  • Be available (if requested) to make a presentation to the Allocations Committee.


Questions?  Contact Lael Gray at or 408-357-7490.