The ECE was founded in 1992 by Dr. Isa Aron and Professor Sara Lee and is based at the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. Initially supported by grants from The Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Mandel Associated Foundations, The Gimprich Family Foundation, and The Covenant Foundation, the ECE began with an invitational conference of academicians, rabbis, educators, and lay leaders to deliberate on the means by which learning could become a vehicle for congregation-wide change.
The initial ECE process was designed by a team of more than 20 experts representing a wide range of disciplines and experience. In designing this process, we borrowed from work done in corporations and public schools, bearing in mind the many differences between congregations and these other organizations. Since that time, ECE has developed a variety of processes and approaches based on alternative theories of change, which vary in assumptions, duration, and methods. These approaches were tested and refined in conjunction with our community partners.