Historic Philanthropic Partnership Launched Among Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, Edward Fein Foundation, and Hillel International



July 15, 2020

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. The program, currently at 29 local Hillels around the country, supports a coordinator on each campus dedicated to recruiting students for Birthright Israel trips and inspiring them to become active in Jewish life and Israel activities once back on campus.

By moving to Hillel International, IACT will build on an already successful national program, currently on campuses serving nearly 20 percent of all North American Jewish college undergraduates. Hillel’s significant international campus infrastructure will position the program for continued strength and national scope, along with the potential for further expansion that can maximize IACT’s reach and impact.   

The IACT initiative was piloted in 2007 through the innovation and leadership of CJP with generous support from donors as a unique approach to engaging students before and after Birthright Israel trips and to inspire participation in Jewish life on campus after students return. CJP successfully 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 unique programmatic brand identity and will join and benefit from the wealth of 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 as well as other centerpiece initiatives, such as Hillel’s work with Birthright Israel, Masa Israel, and Onward Israel. In Cheryl’s more than 30 years with CJP she has overseen Israel, global and Jewish education agendas.

“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,” said Adam Lehman, President and CEO of Hillel International. “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.”

“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.  I am thrilled that IACT will continue to ignite students’ passion for Jewish life as part of Hillel International,” Aronson said.  “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.”

“IACT is a flagship program for us. It aligns with our mission to strengthen Jewish identity and Israel engagement through education,” said Amy B. Klein, President of the Edward Fein Foundation. “We are proud of our partnership with CJP to scale this program from a local initiative to a national model and tremendously excited about the possibility to sustain and strengthen it into the future as part of Hillel International.”

“This partnership is incredibly exciting for both CJP and the Edward Fein Foundation, not only because of the promise it holds for broadening and deepening the numbers of college students around the country who engage meaningfully with Jewish life and Israel,” CJP President Marc Baker said. “It also 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. We have an extraordinary partnership with Amy and the Edward Fein Foundation, who share our vision for a truly national IACT initiative reaching hundreds of thousands of Jewish students nationwide. Hillel International and CJP hope that this will be a model for other Federations, national organizations, and philanthropists around the Jewish world.”