Integrated Bursary Program helps families with the cost of being Jewish – right here in Edmonton

The Edmonton Jewish Federation and Jewish Family Services of Edmonton are offering an Integrated bursary program to help with the cost of living a Jewish lifestyle. The application process is designed to be respectful and private.

It is well known that there is a cost associated with living a Jewish lifestyle – even in Edmonton.  Jewish summer camp, Jewish day school, synagogue membership, Jewish holiday and milestone celebrations – all enhance the fabric of Jewish living and all come at a cost. If you find that the cost of a Jewish lifestyle is out of reach for your family here in Edmonton, the Jewish Federation can help out in a manner that respects your dignity and privacy.

The Integrated Bursary Program of Jewish Federation of Edmonton has been modelled after a pilot project of the Calgary Jewish Federation based on the principals of equity, anonymity, and dignity. This “one-stop shopping” program minimizes embarrassment and humiliation for applicants to programs funded by JFE, as they only have to tell their story once. Every application is measured by the same standards, making the process as fair as possible, and confidential.

It is clear that IBP maximizes the opportunity for the most vulnerable in our community to fully participate in Jewish life. By improving access to bursary funding through a trusted and efficient process, more families and children who might otherwise not be able to participate in Jewish life are able to do so, and do so proudly.webIBP Final (1)


IBP emerged from the Poverty Project of Calgary Jewish Community Council (now Calgary Jewish Federation,) which identified difficulties in accessing subsidy as a barrier to participation in Jewish life. IBP was created to make the process of applying for a bursary more dignified, anonymous, effective, and fair.

The Jewish Federation of Edmonton (JFE) has decided that this is the right model to adopt to deal with the growing number of people in our community who need financial assistance to fully participate in Jewish life in our City. Rather than having to reveal financial information and extenuating circumstances to a variety of people, IBP offers a “one stop shop.”

Families are able to make one application for bursaries for programs and services offered by Talmud Torah School, Camp BB Riback, BBYO Edmonton, Maccabi Canada Alberta Team, March of the Living and the Asper Human Rights Trip. This application is completed one time for the entire year for all family members.

Within the limitations of each year’s UJA campaign and available funds, it is The Jewish Federation of Edmonton’s policy that families and individuals needing a bursary be accommodated if at all possible. The deadline for applications this year is March 31, 2016.

JFE is committed to the ideal that no member of the Jewish community be denied a Jewish educational, social, or cultural experience.

The Process

  • A single, comprehensive application is completed by each family which includes all children, desired services/programs, anticipated cost of Jewish life, anticipated family contribution amount, and highlights of extenuating circumstances. This is submitted directly to JFE.
  • A trained counselor from Jewish Family Services may meet with families to discuss the application and process if need be. Upon meeting completion, the counselor makes a recommendation regarding the family contribution amount, as well as recommended provision of requested services (i.e. how many weeks of camp, etc.).
  • A small adjudication committee comprised of volunteers representing different segments of the community convenes, and reviews each file. The files are by number only – no names are present or referred to. The committee works with a pre-budgeted allocation purse as approved by the Federation Board, and continues to review all files several times to support as many reasonable requests as possible.
  • Families are then notified of the outcome of their application, and the amount requested of them as their contribution. The committee entertains appeals on an as-needed basis.
  • Partner organizations work with the IBP process, in some cases reducing their price tag for certain services. If Federation is unable to provide a bursary, the organizations themselves can step in on appeal and may choose to fund the bursaries themselves.
  • Funds owed to partners are paid directly by Federation as part of the community allocation process, with IBP recipient families paying a specified amount to each partner on their own (as pre-determined through adjudication). Those amounts are communicated to a designated person at each organization, keeping the process equitable and involving as few additional people as possible.

For more information about the IBP contact Elianna at the JFE office at 780-487-0585 ext 211 or email  Click here to apply.   Don’t delay; the application deadline is March 31, 2016.

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