“Anything Grant” Ensured Pandemic Programming for College Students

May 7, 2021 | Article

“Anything Grant” Ensured Pandemic Programming for College Students

“It made a huge difference, especially in a COVID year,” said Daniel Bennett, executive director of Hillel of Colorado, reflecting on the impact of last year’s Anything Grant. The organization, part of a network that provide a Jewish connection for students at more than 550 colleges and universities around the world, received a Staenberg grant last year to rebuild their outdated website just in time for the coronavirus pandemic. The new site paved the way for hours of virtual programming and distribution of content that the pandemic required.

Anything Grants are funded by the Staenberg Family Foundation and facilitated by JEWISHcolorado. They are designed to support projects, infrastructure, and programs of local Jewish organizations. These one-time matching grants range from $1,000 to $5,000, up to 50 percent of the project budget. This year’s round of grantmaking is now open; the application deadline is May 26, 2021 at 5:00 p.m.

“Last year’s grant,” said Bennett, “enabled us to get out in front of the issues. Because of the new website, we never had a problem getting virtual content to people; it gave us a seamless way of working with students to make sure they could get to our programs.” What’s more, the rebuild allowed Hillel to integrate its social media channels, automatically pushing content to various audiences and demographics.

Bennett said the Anything Grants are especially important because they provide dollars for non-profit line items that are normally difficult to fund. With the Staenberg Grants, “we could apply for things that were really necessary for us to do. What makes a difference is that the Staenberg Family Foundation is not afraid to help fund critical operations. And we are grateful to both JEWISHcolorado and the Staenberg family for this support.” 

Over the past year, Hillel of Colorado was able to provide student programming for students statewide on everything from social justice programs to holiday services. Students could interview political leaders and write blogs. The new website also enabled a direct connection to Hillel International, which provided nationwide programming, virtual learning, and bolstered community life through streaming sessions on demand.

Michael and Carol Staenberg established the Staenberg Family Foundation in 2005 to mobilize resources needed to preserve and enhance Jewish life in St. Louis, Israel, and around the world. It is a supporting foundation of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. In 2018, they expanded their support to Colorado. They say they hope that their actions will inspire others to give back to the community by funding Anything Grants to benefit Jewish non-profit organizations or synagogues in Colorado.  “I started this six or seven years ago,” said Staenberg. He now provides Anything Grants in St. Louis, Omaha, and Denver. “The reason I did this to show how one can change thousands of people’s lives — to create big change with a small amount money.”  

Past grantees in Colorado include Shalom Park, Ekar Farms, Kavod v’ Nichum, BBYO, B’nai B’rith Colorado, and numerous synagogues throughout the Denver metro area.

Staenberg Family Foundation Anything Grants will be awarded to Jewish non-profit organizations in Colorado seeking to fund operations or a specific project or program.  Grantees will be notified the first week of July. Eligible grant applications could be for anything, including hiring a nonprofit consultant, purchasing technology, professional development for staff or board, or building beautification or improvement. 

Anything Grants may also be programmatic, but since this may be a one-time grant, organizations are encouraged to submit grant proposals for specific one-time needs. 

Applications will only be accepted via the online form: Colorado Anything Grants Application. Please email grants@jewishcolorado.org for further information.