Shalom Austin History and Overview

Austin has had a central Jewish community organization since the 1970s. Located in an old church and small trailer park, the Jewish Federation ran an annual campaign, a pre-school of about 100 children, a Jewish Book Fair, some JCC-without-walls activities, and a Jewish Family Service. In 1992, Michael and Susan Dell purchased the 40-acre site of the Hart Family Ranch, with the idea of donating the land and creating a center for Jewish life in Austin. 

The Dell Jewish Community Campus opened in 2000, and today is home to Shalom Austin, formerly the Jewish Community Association of Austin (JCAA), which includes the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin, the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Service, and the Jewish Foundation of Austin & Central Texas.  Also housed on the Campus are Austin Jewish Academy, Congregation Agudas Achim, Temple Beth Shalom, Congregation Tiferet Israel and Congregation Kol Halev. (An abundance of deer also claim the Campus as their primary residence!)  The Campus welcomes people of all interests and religions, and hosts classes, programs, meetings and events throughout the year that are open to all of Austin.

The birth of the JCAA in January 2000 marked an innovative approach to Jewish organizational structure, uniting the JCC, the Federation and Jewish Family Service into one umbrella organization. As one organization, Shalom Austin serves as a bedrock for the community's future growth, centralizing educational, cultural, social service, and recreational activities, and the philanthropic efforts required to sustain Jewish community life.

The J501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, comprised of four branches: 

Jewish Federation of Greater Austin (JFGA) is the philanthropic and community development division of the JCAA.  The Jewish Federation oversees fundraising, strategic planning, allocations, outreach and engagement, marketing, leadership development and global Jewish connections. Signature programs and services include The Jewish Outlook, The PJ Library, J-Lead, Neighborhood Noshes, and networking and affinity groups such as YAD (Young Adults), Blue Knot (Technology) and Green Knot (Real Estate).

Jewish Family Service (JFS) is the professional social service and mental health branch of Shalom Austin. JFS provides a wide array of mental health and support services to the Jewish community and to the wider Austin community, including counseling and psychotherapy, support groups, case management, emergency financial assistance, and community consultation and education programs. JFS also provides consultation related to the inclusion of people with disabilities in services and programs in the Austin Jewish community. JFS receives more than 87% of its annual budget from Jewish Federation Annual Campaign allocations.

Jewish Community Center (JCC) serves as the main programming branch of Shalom Austin. The key programming areas under the JCC umbrella include Early Childhood, Sports, Fitness, and Wellness, Youth & Teen Services, Senior Adults and Jewish cultural and educational programs. JCC members enjoy full access to our outstanding Sports & Fitness facilities and also receive discounts on JCC programming such as JCC Camps, enrichment classes, special cultural evens, and more. The JCC is a beneficiary of the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin Annual Campaign. Membership is open to all. The Jewish Federation Annual Campaign funds less than 3% of the JCC budget, primarily needs-based scholarship assistance to JCC programs and services.  Although the JCC is the largest division within Shalom Austin, other sources of revenue, including membership dues, tuitions, program fees and rentals, cover the lion's share of the budget.

 Jewish Foundation of Austin & Central Texas (JFACT) provides a service to individuals, families and organizations to help sustain a vibrant and secure Jewish community, now and for future generations. Guided by Jewish values and the individual interests of donors and organizations, the Foundation provides an opportunity to make a lasting impact through philanthropy in the name of the Jewish community, at home in Austin and around the world.

Like Austin, Shalom Austin is very much a work in progress.  With an estimated Jewish population of 18,000-20,000 expected to double in the next 15-20 years, Austin is one of the youngest and fastest growing Jewish communities in the U.S. Shalom Austin will continue to expand our philanthropic, social service, outreach, educational, and community building programs to meet the interests and needs of our local and global community.