MazelTot’s 1-Year Birthday Shows This Baby Has Grown
MazelTot turns one year old on Sept. 17, 2010, and in its first year of life in the Boulder/Denver area, this Rose Community Foundation initiative has made some astounding progress.
What is MazelTot? It’s a free program to help young Jewish and interfaith families and parents-to-be connect to Jewish life and to one another. Parents can find information on hundreds of activities offered by more than 30 Jewish organizations at mazeltot.org and can sign up to redeem three big discounts. MazelTot discounts offer families substantial savings – up to $1,000 – for classes, programs, events, celebrations, retreats, camps and preschools.
Since MazelTot launched in September 2009, 799 families from the Denver/Boulder area have signed up, representing 1,007 children and more than 100 expectant parents. Three new organizations, Chabad of South Metro Denver, Congregation Har HaShem, and Temple Micah, have just come on board, bringing the number of MazelTot partners to 32.
We are thrilled to be working with organizations that reflect the diversity of Jewish life,” says Sarah Indyk, Jewish Life initiatives manger for Rose Community Foundation. “Through MazelTot, we are all learning together about the kinds of programs and services that appeal most to today’s young families.”
Among the many unique activities the discounts can be applied toward are things like having a Jewish storyteller come to a playgroup, having a Challah baking lesson for a family at their own home, or having a Jewish song leader visit to teach children and their friends special holiday songs or folksongs.
When originally launched, MazelTot was intended to be a pilot two-year program, with family registrations taken only for the first year, and with the discounts expected to be used within one year of signing up. “When we decided to create an initiative focused on helping young families connect Jewishly, we looked for a model we could follow from another community. However, none emerged,” explains Lisa Farber Miller, senior program officer at Rose Community Foundation. “MazelTot is tailored to fit the families and organizations in our community and it began as a pilot-initiative; we needed to test the waters and see how people would respond.”
Based on MazelTot’s initial success, the Foundation has extended the program. Family registrations will continue until September 2011, and families will have up to two years to use their three MazelTot discounts. In its first year, MazelTot families used 393 discounts for 86 different events, camps, schools and more, with a total value of $66,148. Families who have signed up for MazelTot say that its most appealing features are the discount offers and the opportunity to meet other families with young children.
MazelTot is collaborating with grantee organizations to celebrate its first birthday at their September events. The first such celebration took place on Sept. 12 at the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center’s Sukkot Festival. The young attendees decorated birthday cookies. Later this month, MazelTot will celebrate its first birthday at two other events: Sukkot Mishpacha at Red Wagon Organic Farm in Longmont on Tuesday, Sept. 21 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., which is co-sponsored by the Boulder Jewish Community Center’s Shalom Family, Boulder Tuv H’Aaretz, A Hazon CSA Project, and Congregation Har HaShem; and B’nai Havurah’s Sukkot Festival on Sunday, Sept. 26 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Details can be found at www.mazeltot.org/events/upcoming.
Parents have praised their MazelTot experiences. For example, Elizabeth said:
As a non-Jew married to someone who is ‘not very Jewish,’ we really need the help in creating a Jewish home. Despite the fact that I have been on the lookout for classes, programs and preschools to help us make a Jewish life, there was a host of options on the (MazelTot) website that I had no idea existed.”
MazelTot is a nondenominational, no-obligation initiative of Rose Community Foundation in collaboration with 32 Jewish organizations and congregations. The Foundation supports efforts to create and sustain a vibrant Jewish community, in part by funding new ideas that connect Jews to Jewish life and to each other. MazelTot was created in 2009 to meet those goals and to encourage young families to try new Jewish experiences. Oreg Foundation, 18 Pomegranates and Alissa and Jeff Merage also provide support for MazelTot.Rose Community Foundation supports efforts to improve the quality of life throughout the Greater Denver community through its endowed grantmaking programs, and by advising and assisting donors who wish to make thoughtful charitable investments to better the community. The Foundation has granted $162 million since it was founded in 1995. For more information, visit rcfdenver.org.