The Jewish Communal Fund (JCF) and Slingshot today released “Funding Jewish Innovation: A Resource Guide,” which can be downloaded for free at www.jcfny.org/innovation.
The guide offers a crash-course in funding Jewish innovation. It answers common questions around funding innovation in Jewish life, offers reflections from funders in the field, and provides practical next steps for individual donors to select innovative projects and organizations to fund. The guide also features Innovation Snapshots – brief examples of how Jewish organizations both young and old (including Our Jewish Community, the Pearlstone Center, Hillel’s Ask Big Questions and G-dcast) are using innovative approaches to remain relevant in today’s 21st century world.
Funding Jewish Innovation, which was edited by Tamar Snyder, JCF’s Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives, and Will Schneider, Executive Director of Slingshot, begins by answering an oft-repeated question: What exactly is “innovation”?
“Being ‘innovative’ is a short-cut term to describe organizations that have built the drive for relevancy and impact into their DNA,” says Schneider. “Innovation is not an end goal, but rather a mode of operating. These organizations will change existing programs, throw out ineffective tactics and blaze new trails if it means better addressing their ‘reason for being’ or mission.”
Slingshot and JCF have forged a strong partnership over the past several years. JCF housed Slingshot in its midtown offices for two-and-a-half years until January 2014, when Slingshot outgrew the space available. The goal of the joint project is to shine a spotlight on the field of Jewish innovation and encourage individual fund holders to consider dedicating a portion of their philanthropic portfolio to this exciting and important area.
“As a collective of Jewish funders and as an institution, Jewish Communal Fund is interested in fostering innovation in Jewish life,” says Karen Adler, President of Jewish Communal Fund. “At JCF, we continue to innovate our service offerings, providing state-of-the-art technology that makes grant-making simple and efficient, as well as producing helpful and engaging educational resources that benefit our fund holders and the charities they generously support.”
JCF, the largest Jewish donor advised fund in the country, currently manages $1.25 billion in charitable assets for 3,100 funds. During the past three years, more than 365 JCF fund holders recommended nearly $4 million to dozens of innovative Jewish organizations profiled in Slingshot. The Slingshot Guide is an annual resource highlighting the most innovative organizations in Jewish life; it is often perceived as a stamp of approval for innovative organizations seeking funding and other resources necessary to grow. (The 2013-2014 Slingshot Guide can be downloaded here.)
“This resource guide bridges JCF’s and Slingshot’s collective expertise on the subject,” says Snyder. “It is our hope that this guide to funding innovation in the Jewish world will prove a helpful tool in making one’s charitable giving strategic, thoughtful and meaningful.”
Click here to download a PDF version of Funding Jewish Innovation: A Resource Guide.