How we grew a field: The Rothschild Foundation and the development of Jewish Studies in Europe

Robin Nobel

As philanthropy professionals, we have long grown accustomed to 'measuring our impact.' Equally, though, we have come to be haunted by impact’s dark shadow side: attribution. How can foundation staff ever be certain that their intervention made the difference even when meaningful and lasting change does occur? In most cases, the problems we confront are too complex, too broad, too multifaceted to ever bear linking with a single causal factor.

The Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe [RFHE]  is highly specialised - not only is our mission clearly laid out and our area of concern plainly delineated, our funding programmes are also well calibrated, particularly our support for academic Jewish studies. As a result, we can draw some direct lines between our input and the changes that have unfolded in a way that may be more difficult for other grant-givers.

A holistic approach

Our Foundation exists to ensure that Jewish cultural heritage throughout Europe is actively supported, valued and looked after for generations to come. To accomplish this aim, the Foundation awards grants in four main programme areas: archives and libraries with Jewish collections, Jewish museums, Jewish education and academic Jewish studies.

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