Jewish grant fund Slingshot released its annual guide to the 50 “most inspiring and innovative organizations, projects, and programs in the North American Jewish community,” with the addition of a brand new top 10 list of standard-bearers. The new class opens the guide to organizations who are not equipped to compete with more established companies.
This year’s standard bearers are Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community; Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life; Hazon; Ikar; InterfaithFamily.com; Jewish Funds for Justice-Progressive Jewish Alliance; Mayyim Hayyim; Mechon Hadar; Reboot; and Sharsheret.
“These organizations are not just innovative, they’re pushing it every year,” Will Schneider, Slingshot’s director, told JTA. “They’re striving for relevancy every day.”
These companies were judged by the same four criteria as the others featured in Slingshot’s guide: innovation, impact, strong leadership and organizational efficacy. After an application and nomination process, a panel of foundation professionals choose the winners.
Most organizations that appear in Slingshot are relatively young, though some have been in existence for more than a decade. Schneider said that a company’s age is less important than its relevance to contemporary Jewish life.
In alphabetical order, this year’s Slingshot 50 are: Access-American Jewish Committee’s new generation program; BBYO PANIM Institute; Be’chol Lashon; Bible Raps, the Bronfman Youth Fellowships Alumni Venture Fund; Center Without Walls; Challah for Hunger; Diarna: Mapping Mizrahi Heritage; Eden Village Camp; Encounter; Gateways-Access to Jewish Education; G-dcast; Haggadot.com; Hebrew SeniorLife Chaplaincy Institute; Hidden Sparks; Hillel’s Campus Entrepreneur & Senior Jewish Educator Initiative; Institute for Curriculum Services; the Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues; Jewish Community Action-Foreclosure Prevention; The Jewish Education Project; Jewish Heart for Africa; Jewish Meditation Center of Brooklyn; Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation; Jewish Rock Radio; Jewish Teen Funders Network; and Judaism Your Way.
Also, the Kavana Cooperative; Kavanah Garden; Shoresh Jewish Environmental Programs; Kayam Farm at the Pearlstone Conference & Retreat Center; Keshet; Matan; Moishe House; Moving Traditions; MyJewishLearning.com; Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture and Spirituality; OurJewishCommunity.org; the PresenTense Group; Project Chessed; Rabbis for Human Rights-North America; Repair the World; Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council; Rose Youth Foundation, an initiative of Rose Community Foundation; Seeds of Peace; Shalom Hartman Institute of North America; Shalom Sesame/Sesame Workshop; Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists; Teva Learning Alliance; Torch; Uri L’Tzedek; and Wilderness Torah.
“The capacity for 50 great organizations has grown over the years,” Schneider said. “It’s become extremely competitive to get in.”
Slingshot intends to distribute 400 copies of its guide at the Jewish Futures Conference in an effort to induce supporters to spread word of the featured organizations through their own networks. “Slingshot Day” has also been moved to March to more effectively introduce funders to their grantees.