Philanthropic Venture

Jewish Early Childhood Education


Tracing Our Roots: EarlyJ's History

EarlyJ is a joint philanthropic venture from the Rodan Family Foundation and the Koum Family Foundation aimed at transforming the reach and quality of Jewish Early Childhood Education across the Bay Area and beyond.

Both Foundations have seeded this work with a combined $12 million over five years, in addition to the $2 million raised for early East Bay pilot projects. Anchor funding partners are invited to contribute to fully fund this work over the next five years. EarlyJ’s goal is to reach 25% of Bay Area Jewish families with preschool-age children by 2027.

This new venture builds off a pilot launched in 2019 by the Rodan Family Foundation and its partners in the East Bay, serving as a test lab before scaling the work.

The Symbolism of Our Logo

The logo features the pomegranate, a symbol deeply rooted in Jewish tradition, representing fertility, abundance, and spiritual richness. Within the pomegranate, the menorah, a symbol associated with knowledge and enlightenment, serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of fostering a love for learning from an early age. The intertwining branches of the menorah, adorned with delicate pomegranate seeds, represent the growth, vitality, and developmental journey of children. These seeds are not only a symbol of the fruit itself but also reflect the interconnectedness and holistic nature of Jewish education in early childhood. They signify the nurturing environment we aim to create, where young minds can flourish and develop a lifelong love for learning.

Investing in Jewish Early Childhood Education for a Stronger Future

“We have learned that building a strong and sustainable ECE infrastructure requires a holistic, multi-pronged approach, with significant investments across four key areas,” says Elana Rodan Schuldt, President and CEO of the Rodan Family Foundation.

Elana Rodan Schuldt

President and CEO of the Rodan Family Foundation

Yana Kalika

President of the Koum Family Foundation.

“Among the most important focus areas of the Koum Family Foundation is to strengthen Jewish identity and create a life-long connection to Jewish life. We firmly believe that investing in Jewish Early Childhood Education (ECE) in the Bay Area is not just an investment in the next generation, but pertinent to the very fabric of our heritage.

"Together, we can shape a future where our Jewish children embrace their cultural identity, build strong Jewish foundations, and become compassionate leaders who will carry the torch of Jewish values forward,”
says Yana Kalika, President of the Koum Family Foundation."

EarlyJ’s Areas of Focus

Expand existing sites and add new sites in geographic areas where young Jewish families reside

Establish a regional peer-led effort to connect young families to the established Jewish community and each other

Transform professional development, compensation, and benefits

Ensure JECE sites are inclusive to all Jewish households

EarlyJ in the News

February 28, 2024

Jewish preschool ‘deserts,’ high tuition costs, staff retention are key issues, Bay Area study finds

August 30, 2023

A higher education partnership to elevate Jewish Early Childhood Education

July 28, 2023

Using data to guide strategic grantmaking in Jewish Early Childhood Education

June 28, 2023

EarlyJ initiative looks to tackle Jewish Early Childhood Education, first in the Bay Area, then beyond