For the last 30 years, The Foundation’s Wexner Heritage Program has taken place in 33 North American cities and to date has touched more than 1900 Members and Alumni! The Wexner Heritage Program, which is always being reviewed and enhanced, is designed to provide young North American Jewish volunteer leaders with a two-year intensive Jewish learning program, deepening their understanding of Jewish history, values, and texts, and enriching their leadership skills.
As we look to the future to expand the reach of the Wexner Heritage Program, we have already confirmed our partnerships with communities through 2016 and tentatively for 2017, and we are in serious conversations with community partners for 2017, 2018, and even 2019.
This is a strong validation of the value of The Wexner Foundation brand and the network of more than 2500 Members, Fellows and Alumni around the world.
Partnership is a core value of The Wexner Foundation, reflected in our goals, our programming, and our community relationships. In order to enable communities to invest in and leverage current and future leadership, Leslie and Abigail Wexner decided a decade ago to engage funding partners for the Wexner Heritage Program. These partners ensure the strength and vitality of their own communities by sharing the responsibility for educating the next cadre of Jewish communal leaders.
Each year we partner with three communities and select 20 of their current and emerging lay leaders to begin a transformative journey. The Wexner Foundation and the local community funding partners share the expense of the two-year program, at a total cost of $700,000, or $350,000 each. Local funders include the local Jewish Federation; individual philanthropists, private foundations, Community Foundations, and Alumni of the Wexner Heritage Program, among others. This joint investment allows the program to be offered at no cost to participants. Heritage Communities are asked to sign a letter of agreement in advance to ensure their place.
When we moved to this partnership model a decade ago, The San Francisco Jewish Community set a stellar example of commitment by creating an endowment to ensure that there would be a Wexner Heritage class there every few years. Other communities are following suit and beginning to build endowments to bring Heritage classes back to their communities in five to seven year intervals.
Since 2005, community partnerships have brought and will soon bring the Wexner Heritage Program to Atlanta, Baltimore, Boca Raton, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, East Bay (CA), Houston, Los Angeles, MetroWest/NJ, Miami, Montreal, New York City (and Russian Speaking Jews NY), New England (Hartford, New Haven and Western Massachusetts), Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Seattle, San Diego, St. Louis, the San Francisco Bay area, Washington, DC, and Westchester, NY.
If you are interested in pursuing a community partnership, please contact Cindy Chazan, Vice President, The Wexner Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212)355-6115.