Samberg Family Foundation
- Arlington US-VA
Founded in 1995, by Rebecca and Arthur Samberg, the Samberg Foundation provides funding for a variety of community initiatives. Among the Samberg Foundation’s areas of focus are helping to provide important health services in lower income areas. Recent studies have shown that poverty and chronic health conditions are linked. For example, data provided by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index has shown that individuals living below the accepted economic poverty line experience certain emotional and physical health issues at greater rates than do individuals who are better off financially. These health issues include asthma, depression, and obesity. Among the health data the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index gathered, the greatest discrepancy between people considered to be living in poverty and those above the poverty line was found to be the likelihood of experiencing the mental health condition of depression. Almost 31 percent of adults living in poverty reported having been diagnosed with depression. In comparison, just 15.8 percent of individuals living above the poverty line reported the same thing. These findings further reinforce the importance of health initiatives in lower income communities to help treat and prevent such conditions.
The Samberg Family Foundation is a New York-based organization focused on fostering quality education, health, and strong Jewish values for children, youth, and families through grant making. Since its establishment in 1995 by Arthur and Rebecca Samberg, the work of the Samberg Family Foundation has been strongly influenced by the Jewish tradition of “tikkun olam.” Tikkun olam is a commonly used Jewish phrase from the Hebrew language, which translates roughly as “repairing the world.” Today, it is recognized as an important Jewish tradition. The phrase was first cited in the Mishnah during the early rabbinic period. The Mishnah was a collection of rabbinic lessons from the third century, in which tikkun olam referred to social policy issues. The concept later appeared in Isaac Luria’s teachings, a 16th century kabbalist. Luria used tikkun olam as a way to explain the restoration of balance between good and evil. In his writings, this was to be achieved through prayer, reflection, and a clear separation between the material and the holy world. In the 1950s, tikkun olam was further developed by Shlomo Bardin, a Jewish educator based in the United States. Bardin motivated Jewish people to work toward improving the world. Today, you often hear tikkun olam as it relates to volunteer work and Jewish social initiatives.
The Samberg Family Foundation is a grantmaking organization that contributes to the health and education of youth and communities. The foundation has granted over $65 million to causes and organizations that empower children and families to reach their potential and succeed in life. Among the educational groups who have benefited from Samberg Family Foundation support are Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL), College Summit, and Facing History and Ourselves. In December of 2013, Facing History and Ourselves will offer a special seminar entitled “Choices in Little Rock: An Approach to Teaching the Civil Rights Movement.” This event will focus on the desegregation of Central High School in 1957 as an entry point into a larger discussion on the civil rights movement. The seminar will provide teachers with innovative approaches to engaging students in the subject matter and strategies for getting them to consider the relevance of such issues today. Teachers of any course that covers the civil rights movement or U.S. history since the 1950s are welcome to apply, although teachers of 8th and 10th grade American studies, civics, U.S. history, humanities, and language arts courses will receive priority.