New York (June 4, 2015) – Bikkurim has selected AVODAH and Encounter to receive $255,000 in funding and organizational assistance through Atid Hazak (Strong Future), a program designed to enable the most promising Jewish organizations founded over the past two decades to increase their strength, stability, and impact. This brings Bikkurim’s total investment in second stage organizations to over $1 million dollars since the program was founded in 2013. AVODAH and Encounter will each receive $100,000 in grants and guidance valued at $155,000 over two years. The funds and guidance will enable these game-changing organizations to strengthen their operations and build capacity for future growth.
AVODAH and Encounter represent a wave of organizations founded since the mid-90s to expand and enrich opportunities for Jewish engagement. AVODAH has catalyzed a generation of young Jews committed to social change and Jewish community. Through its year-long Jewish Service Corps, Fellowship program for early career professionals, and extensive alumni network, AVODAH provides meaningful engagement for young adults while making a substantive contribution to anti-poverty work and Jewish communities in New York, Washington DC, New Orleans, and Chicago. Encounter was founded a decade later to enable Jewish leader to travel to the West Bank and hear Palestinian narratives first hand. This ground-breaking organization has successfully bridged political divides, shifted the American Jewish conversation about Israel, and has enabled people with divergent views to hear and understand one another.
Atid Hazak is a direct outgrowth of the recommendations set forth in “From First Fruits to Abundant Harvest: Maximizing the Potential of Innovative Start-Ups,” a 2012 study that was published by Bikkurim, Wellspring Consulting, and six partner organizations. The report found that the Jewish community lacked a coordinated funding and capacity-building mechanism attuned to the unique needs of post-startups. Avodah and Encounter join Keshet, Footsteps, and Hazon who are already enrolled in Atid Hazak. The inaugural cohort of Atid Hazak was launched in collaboration with the Natan Fund.
About: Bikkurim: Advancing New Jewish Ideas – has helped launch 31 startups that contribute to the diversification and reinvigoration of Jewish life. Through Atid Hazak (‘Strong Future’), Bikkurim supports post-startups as they prepare to grow and scale for impact. Bikkurim is a joint project of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Kaminer Family. For more information, visit www.bikkurim.org.