The COJECO BluePrint Fellowship

The BluePrint Fellowship is a year-long program for Russian-speaking Jewish adults ages 25-40 to explore personal and collective identity through the creation of Jewish community projects, supported by group workshops, one-on-one guidance, and a mini-grant.

Blueprint 2017 Application

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The BluePrint Fellowship brings together a select group of Russian-speaking Jewish innovators, artists, and intellectuals, to explore the link between personal identity and creativity.


What does it mean to be Jewish for someone born in the Former Soviet Union and living in the United States today? The BluePrint Fellowship offers participants the opportunity to examine and explore this question on their own terms. Chosen through a competitive application and interview process, fellows are able to bring their ideas to life and engaged in this community-wide conversation.

BluePrint Community Projects

BluePrint projects from years past have been innovative initiatives that impact the Russian-speaking Jewish community and Jewish community at large in areas such as: arts & culture * media & technology * gender & sexuality * literature * education * environment * children and family life * social justice * philanthropy

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Offering fellows a deeper historical and cultural perspective on the Jewish people and contemporary issues of the Jewish world today, with a unique focus on post-Soviet Jewry through a series of informal educational experiences.

Motivating participants to become more active members of the Jewish community through a personal connection to and familiarity with an array of projects, organizations, and approaches to Jewish community life.

Providing fellows with the tools to develop successful community projects through hands-on professional workshops and peer-to-peer review.

One-on-one mentoring guides Fellows in setting clear goals for project objectives, offers options for achieving desired goals and outcomes, and identifies possible resources that go beyond traditional methods.

Russian Jewish community projects created since 2008


Projects continuing beyond their Fellowship year


New Jewish non-profit organizations resulting from BluePrint projects


Fellows who became Jewish professionals or lay leaders


People engaged by BluePrint Fellowship community projects



  • Fellows must be Russian-speaking Jews between the ages of 25 and 40, residing in the NYC area.
  • Fellows must have an original concept for a community project with an explicitly Jewish theme and an anticipated impact on at least 50 people.
  • Fellows must participate in the program fully, including a three-day weekend retreat and 8 evening workshops, which take place monthly on weeknights.
  • Fellows must implement their community projects within the Fellowship year, including a public launch event.


The BluePrint Fellowship begins with a weekend retreat and is followed by monthly educational workshops,  where fellows meet other talented thinkers and social activists, gain a new perspective on the community’s historical context, and hone their project management skills. BluePrint sessions are designed to inspire and support participants through the development of their projects, while exploring new ways of looking at personal history and identity.


Through a guided grant application and reporting process over the course of the program, each fellow is awarded a mini-grant of up to $5,000 for the implementation of their community project. The average grant awarded is $3,000.


Fellows are matched with distinguished coaches, experts in the field of each participant’s project, who work with them one-on-one to help them further their own creative goals.


Each fellow is paired with a BluePrint alumnus mentor who can offer guidance, support, and advice to a new fellow, having had firsthand experience of participating in this process.

Selection Criteria

For the 2015-2016 BluePrint Fellowship cycle, preference was given to candidates with long-term vision and aspirations for their community project and their personal community involvement. While projects must be implemented within the the program year, the Fellowship should be viewed as a  launching pad for on-going endeavors.


Preference was given to community project proposals in the following areas:

  • New mediums for informal Jewish education among RSJ (e.g. games, multimedia, animation, etc.)
  • Israel engagement
  • Russian-Israeli community
  • Volunteering, Philanthropy & Fundraising
  • Family & Children educational workshops

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Blueprint fellows

Current Fellows
Past Fellows

Olga Gilburd Happiness the Jewish Way

Olga Gilburd lived in Russia and Ukraine before coming to the United States. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a Master’s degree in Public Service. She worked with teens and adults at The Jewish Agency for Israel and also with kids in a Jewish Sunday school. As a nurse, she interacted and helped predominately Russian-speaking immigrants.  Listening to many life stories, she realized that although pursuit of happiness is the main reason for immigration, the emotional well-being skills and happiness are mostly overlooked in everyday challenges. Olga studied positive Psychology and created a blog about happiness.

Zhenya Plechkina Solomon's Chair

Zhenya Plechkina is a Ukranian-born artist living in South Brooklyn. Zhenya studied art at the Pratt Institute and the Tisch School of the Arts, and Art Education at the Pratt Institute.Zhenya's teaching experience includes New York City public and private schools, camps and Riker's Island vocational school. Zhenya leads her own Museum Education Series for children and adults. She has exhibited works in a variety of venues in the US and abroad, including the Queens Museum of Art, the Venice Architectural and Moscow Biennials. After the BluePrint Fellowship, Zhenya went on to become the first Russian-speaking Jewish Joshua Venture Group fellow, where she further developed her initiative, Zshuk Art Initiative.

Anna Loshkin Our Suitcase (Nash Chemodan)

Anna Loshkin was born in Odessa, Ukraine, and immigrated with her family to Boston in 1988. She worked in the internet field for ten years before pursuing photography and journalism. Her work has been featured in BBC Russia, VICE, Grazia, Tablet Mag and others. Her photographs have been exhibited in the US and UK, as well at the on-line International Museum of Women. Anna’s project on influential Afghan women will be featured in the Other One Hundred, an upcoming book and travelling exhibition, and received an honorable mention in the 2014 International Photography Awards. You can see more of her work at

Kate Balandina When I Grow Up (Little Odessa)

Kate Balandina, a native of Odessa, Ukraine graduated from the NYU Film Department and is currently a film director and producer. She believes that art brings people together and exposes their beauty like nothing else in the world. To foster those beliefs she is dedicating herself to the art of film.

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Blueprint Fellowship Alumni

Alumni Projects

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Speak Memory

Tatyana Levina
Yuliya Levit
Nadya Meykson
Irina Sheynfeld

Inheritance of a Story

Tatyana Levina
Anna Rozhdestvenskaya
Yuliya Levit

Handmade Charity NYC

Ekaterina Schaltuper
Ekaterina Kovalenko
The BluePrint Fellowship is generously sponsored by

UJA-Federation of New York and Genesis Philanthropy Group.

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