About the project
The Caring Communty is a multi-faceted social, communal and educational program aimed at giving residents of Jerusalm’s poorest neighborhoods the means to move up the socio-economic ladder and to take responsibility for their communities’ fates. The Foundation designed the project to help residents create change from within their communities by developing local leadership, supporting and integrating the efforts of schools, community centers and social service organizations, and working with local leaders to create new programs to address critical unmet needs. A steering committee made up of 60% local residents and 40% social service professionals develops projects and determines how to allocate funds; a citywide committee sets general guidelines and provides assistance. In 2000, a pilot program was conducted in the Ir Ganim/Kiryat Menachem and Katamon Het-Tet/Pat neighborhoods, where the steering committees supported projects that extended public school hours, installed computers in elementary schools, established a learning center for children with profound learning disabilities and more. Since then, five additional neighborhoods have joined the program: Beit Safafa, Neve Ya’acov, A-Tur, East Talpiot and Romema. By 2004, the program involved more than 6,000 people. As a result of the project, children have improved their scholastic achievement, parents have learned new skills and residents have joined neighborhood activist groups. The Caring Community is a joint venture among the Jerusalem Foundation, the Jerusalem Association of Community Councils and Centers, the Joint Distribution Committee, the Hebrew University and the Jerusalem Education Authority. Many donations toward the project were given in honor of Teddy Kollek’s 90th birthday.