(July 15, 2020 / JNS) IACT (Inspired, Active, Committed, Transformed), the signature campus engagement initiative created by Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston (CJP) and scaled nationally in partnership with the Edward Fein Foundation, will move to Hillel International this summer, announced the agencies on Wednesday.
The program, currently at 29 local Hillels around the country, supports a coordinator on each campus dedicated to recruiting students for Birthright Israel trips, in addition to inspiring them to become active in Jewish life and Israel activities once back on campus.
The IACT initiative was piloted in 2007 through the innovation and leadership of CJP with support from donors.
CJP operated the initiative on campuses in New England for 13 years and expanded it to a national program in 2014. The Edward Fein Foundation has supported IACT since 2012 and joined with CJP to pioneer IACT’s national expansion six years ago.
As part of the Hillel movement—funded through a nearly $10 million grant over three years by the Edward Fein Foundation—IACT will maintain its programmatic brand identity. It can now, however, benefit from Hillel’s resources and offerings, such as its Measuring Excellence reporting and evaluation program.
Cheryl Aronson, CJP’s vice president for IACT, will join Hillel International as vice president, Israel Engagement and Immersive Experiences, overseeing IACT and other centerpiece initiatives, such as Hillel’s work with Birthright Israel, Masa Israel and Onward Israel. Aronson has more than 30 years with CJP overseeing Israel, global and Jewish-education agendas.
“We have an unprecedented opportunity to engage and inspire thousands of Jewish students who have yet to be connected to the richness and beauty of Jewish communal life,” said Aronson. “This new partnership will provide enhanced resources for each IACT coordinator’s work to personally engage a critical mass of students, advance their Jewish journeys and create opportunities for a deeper relationship with Israel at every stage of their college experience and beyond.”
Hillel International president and CEO Adam Lehman said “for years, IACT has played a key role in helping Hillels connect with more students for Birthright Israel trips and then deepening relationships with those students after they return to campus. Moving IACT into Hillel International allows us to create an even more direct pathway for reaching these students and inspiring them to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel on campus and beyond.”
CJP president Marc Baker said the partnership “represents the kind of philanthropic, organizational and programmatic collaboration that our Jewish world needs right now. This is how you take great ideas from inception to pilot and iteration, to scale and sustainability.”
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