In 2014, the Foundation for Jewish Culture (FJC) shuttered. FJC had supported documentary films through the Lynn and Jules Kroll Fund for Jewish Documentary Film, an initiative created with a lead grant from Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation (RPF) over 15 years earlier. At the time, the Kroll Fund was the only source of funding dedicated to Jewish filmmaking.
Recognizing the critical gap in funding for films on Jewish themes, Rachel Levin, RPF’s Executive Director at the time, and Shayna Triebwasser, then senior program officer, invited filmmaker Roberta Grossman, producer Nancy Spielberg, and former Sundance senior programmer and Catalyst director Caroline Libresco to reflect on the ways media had evolved since the Kroll Fund was established, and to imagine what a new Jewish media fund dedicated to best practices and to showcasing the rich complexity of the Jewish story might look like. After a year of design, planning, and consultations with diverse stakeholders and building on field research by Active Voice Lab, the group launched Jewish Story Partners with Roberta Grossman as Producing Director, Caroline Libresco as Artistic Director, Nancy Spielberg as a member of the Board of Directors, and Rachel Levin and Shayna Triebwasser as advisors. Generous lead grants from Righteous Persons Foundation and Maimonides Fund make Jewish Story Partners’ work possible as we engage additional funding partners and look toward building an endowment.