Case Study: JDC Entwine
JDC Entwine was formed in 2008 by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), with the vision of building future Jewish leadership by engaging young Jewish adults in global Jewish and humanitarian needs. Entwine offers diverse opportunities for young adults to become involved with global issues and to cultivate a sense of belonging to, and a feeling of responsibility for, the Jewish people.
Entwine is a multi-faceted initiative that offers a spectrum of opportunities for Jewish engagement and humanitarian service abroad. The flagship options include:
- Insider Trips, a week long travel and humanitarian service experience;
- Multi-Week Global Jewish Fellowships, a 4 to 8-week volunteer service placement in one community, working individually or as part of a group with other volunteers;
- Year-Long Global Jewish Service Corps (JSC), an opportunity to volunteer and live overseas for an extended period of time;
- Learning Networks, local community-based peer-led programs, such as events, trainings, and workshops focused on building communities of young Jews who are interested in global Jewish issues.
Challenge: In 2014, Entwine received a generous grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation to support the continued expansion of select programs, to track and provide evaluation of Jewish identity and service learning outcomes produced by its programs, and ultimately to develop Entwine’s internal capacity for ongoing self-assessment and learning. What did Entwine know about its participants? What are the backgrounds of the participants, and why did they come to Entwine, and what had changed for them since becoming involved? Could the organization intentionally re-design a program to achieve a stronger outcome? And if Entwine’s model did have value, were there real learnings that it could contribute to the broader field?
Since its founding in 2008—while pursuing its mission to catalyze young Jewish adults to view global Jewish awareness, connection, and responsibility as core to their identity—Entwine was so focused on existing and growing, that it could not answer these questions with absolute certainty.
Approach: Rosov Consulting worked closely with Entwine to carry out the evaluation part of the Jim Joseph Foundation grant, and to increase Entwine’s internal capacity for evaluation work going forward. The evaluation project included three separate, but closely related, components: 1) A study of alumni from Entwine’s Insider trips and Multi-Week Fellowships from 2008-January 2015; 2) Analysis of participants before, during, and after participation on Insider Trips and Multi-Week Fellowships between June 2015 and February 2016; and 3) An assessment of Entwine Learning Networks across the country, encompassing leaders, trip-and fellowship alumni, and non-participants in various communities.
Initially, Entwine wanted only to focus on its Learning Networks and participants currently on its trips and fellowships. However, Rosov Consulting felt strongly that examining data from past programs, and determining alumni outcomes of those programs, would offer Entwine a 360 degree view that could greatly inform its decision-making moving forward.
Results: Following the evaluation, Entwine reflected on key learnings, including:
- The young people who Entwine and others in the field of Jewish education and engagement often categorize as “unaffiliated” and “unengaged” actually want intense Jewish experiences and relationships.
- Jewish service experiences, whether offered by Entwine or others in this space, can create and catalyze Jewish values.
- Young people need space to grow and it is important to design an engagement continuum with pathways to deepen involvement over time.
Through its work with Rosov Consulting, Entwine also understood the need to improve its database to allow for better tracking and surveying—especially of alumni.
How JDC Entwine Executive Director Sarah Eisenman Describes Rosov Consulting:
We had the pleasure of working with Rosov Consulting on our first external evaluation, and the results have been nothing short of groundbreaking. The evaluation has fundamentally changed how we work in every way—from how our team is organized, to how we allocate resources, to the programming we offer. The evaluation has informed all of our decisions in terms of running our operations.
As an executive director, the process of working with Rosov Consulting has changed how I look at the use of data in my role as head of the organization. I’ve learned how much I can use data to make decisions about everything from finance, to structure, to programming, to resource development.
Our entire team learned that the use of data allows us to be even more intentional in all of the work that we do.