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Jewish Community Foundation Grants $120,000 to Support Nonprofit Teen Group

Cara Levine. Courtesy photo

With the support of a $120,000 grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford to encourage strategic growth, West Hartford-based JTConnect has hired a new staff member and hopes to engage 540 local Jewish teens in learning and social activities.


The Jewish Teen Learning Connection (JTConnect) in West Hartford is witnessing impressive growth. According to the organization, there’s an 83% increase in teen participation since 2017 with approximately 400 teens participating in JTConnect’s programs.

Due to this growth, the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (JCF) awarded JTConnect a $120,000 multi-year Springboard Grant to help the nonprofit build its capacity to ensure continued, sustainable growth.

“The Jewish Community Foundation is excited to provide JTConnect with this new type of grant, which will increase engagement of teens in exciting, hands-on activities while also providing the resources necessary to support essential organizational development,” says West Hartford resident Jacob Schreiber, president and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford.

JTConnect engages teens from across the Greater Hartford community in fun, interactive, and thought-provoking experiences grounded in Jewish learning and values. Together, teens examine religion, history and traditions through innovative programming that includes classroom study, volunteer projects and special events.

JCF’s Springboard Grant will support a new full-time employee at JTConnect. Cara Levine, a former intern at JTConnect, will serve as Associate Program Director. Levine will work with JTConnect Executive Director and West Hartford resident Eric Maurer to grow and enhance programming and student recruitment. She graduated from the University of Hartford’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies.

“I am humbled and inspired by the investment that the Jewish Community Foundation is making in Jewish teen education in Greater Hartford,” says Maurer. “Sustainability has been a big question for our organization – until now. JCF’s Springboard Grant will help us maintain momentum and build upon our exciting growth.”

As the only full-time employee at JTConnect, Maurer has been building partnerships with new agencies, diversifying program offerings, and growing the number of teens who participate in the nonprofit’s programs. Adding a new staff member will allow Maurer to spend more time on fundraising, board development and engagement, and strategic vision for JTConnect.

JCF is innovating its grant-making process to support the vibrant growth of the Greater Hartford Jewish community by piloting the Springboard Grant in 2020, according to Schreiber. The Grant funds specific initiatives for organizations that will yield transformative effects.

“We’re proud to work in tandem with the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford – which provides JTConnect with generous annual funding support – so we can expand and sustain cutting edge Jewish education programs for our Jewish teens in Greater Hartford,” says Schreiber.

For more information about JCF and its Grants programs, visit the Grant section of www.jcfhartford.org.


The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (JCF) was founded 48 years ago with an initial gift of $50,000 and has now grown to more than $120 million in assets. JCF, a proud partner to the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and a member of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, is the fourth largest charitable community foundation in Connecticut. JCF offers an array of options for every size of charitable investment, which includes family giving, donor advised funds, social impact opportunities, and Jewish funding options.

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