Published: Dec. 11, 2019

Students in Jewish studies course

Students in a Program in Jewish Studies class. (Credit: Patrick Campbell/CU Boulder)

Donors John and Kathy Rosenbloom are doing their part to bolster the type of dialogue and education that is at the root of a healthy democracy—and campus community.   

Their recent investment of more than $900,000 establishes endowed gifts to the university’s Program in Jewish Studies and Conference on World Affairs (CWA). Their generosity speaks to their passion for public education and diverse dialogue.

“We both fundamentally believe in the necessity and power of education, and our giving really reflects that,” said John Rosenbloom (Law’74), a CU Foundation trustee.

John and Kathy Rosenbloom

John and Kathy Rosenbloom (Credit: Matt Tyrie/CU Boulder)

For Kathy Rosenbloom, teaching high school English for 23 years showed her the significant role that public education plays in our communities.  

“Education and democracy go hand-in-hand: In order to have democracy, you have to have an educated public,” she said. “I think our forefathers recognized that and that’s why we have public schools and institutions. Where would we be if we didn’t?”

The Rosenblooms’ $562,500 investment in the Program in Jewish Studies will support the newly established Fund for Innovation and Excellence in Jewish Studies and will contribute to the Rosenbloom Endowed Hebrew Instructorship. They have also pledged to match up to $12,500 in donations to the innovation fund by the end of September 2020.

“Through John and Kathy’s partnership, we can reimagine what it means to be an innovative academic program that produces new knowledge and prepares students of all backgrounds, Jewish and non-Jewish, for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century,” said Elias Sacks, associate professor and incoming director of the Program in Jewish Studies. “I know that I join my predecessor, Nan Goodman, in saying how grateful we are for the passion, vision and integrity they bring to their involvement with our program and CU.”

The Program in Jewish Studies empowers students from all backgrounds to study Jewish culture and history from an interdisciplinary, academic perspective. Its mission is to educate the global citizens and community leaders of tomorrow through its critical examination of Jewish thought, culture and religion.  

An additional $375,000 investment in current and planned giving to the CWA will ensure a sustainable future for the program, as well as support improvements to the speaker and audience experience.

"Philanthropic support creates the opportunity for the CWA to bring thought leaders from around the world to our community each year,” said John Griffin, CWA faculty director. “Through their passion for public education, John and Kathy are helping to ensure a very bright future for the program."

The Rosenblooms’ gifts to the Program in Jewish Studies and the CWA promote the importance of education to two distinct audiences: CU Boulder students and the public at large.

“John and Kathy believe in the inherent values of the programs they support—education, critical thinking and diversity of thought,” said Chancellor Philip DiStefano. “Their partnership and generosity are ensuring that these significant programs will have a future at our university and will continue to impact our students and community.”     

Each year, CWA Week offers 200 panels and performances, drawing an audience of more than 70,000 students and community members to hear from and speak with diverse experts. The program is curated by a vast network of engaged, dedicated volunteers and is free and open to the public.

“The University of Colorado is a university for Colorado,” said John Rosenbloom. “It is a good citizen of the state, helping make the students and people involved with it better citizens, so it’s really important to us to give—and every dollar counts.”