2010 Survey of New Jewish Initiatives Will Expand to Europe

New Transatlantic Partnership Links the Pears Foundation, Jumpstart, and the ROI Community of Young Jewish Innovators

The Pears Foundation, Jumpstart, and the ROI Community of Young Jewish Innovators today announced that the 2010 Survey of New Jewish Initiatives will include the first-ever census of innovative and entrepreneurial Jewish ventures in Europe.

“Europe is recovering its historic place as a source of new Jewish ideas,” said Amy Phillip, deputy director of the Pears Foundation. “Our survey aims to demonstrate the range and scope of the exciting new European projects that are transforming contemporary Jewish life.”

In the past decade, training programs such as the Paideia Project-Incubator, the ROI Global Summit for Young Jewish Innovators, PresenTense, and the Ariane de Rothschild Fellows Program; seed funding initiatives such as the Sparks: The Clore Jewish Development Fund, the Ezra Venture, and Nachshonim; and new resource centers like JHub: The Jewish Social Action Hub, have seeded the European landscape with more than one hundred new projects and organisations, from local independent minyanim to multinational arts and learning networks. Many of them were featured in Compass, a 2009 publication of the Westbury Group that recognized 36 of Europe’s most effective Jewish initiatives.

The 2010 Survey of New Jewish Initiatives will provide the first-ever census of these startup groups, documenting their range and scope. It has two goals: to take a snapshot of European Jewish innovation and to understand it in its transatlantic context. The study also aims to help grantees and their funders understand the current landscape of the Jewish startup sector, enabling them not only to learn from one another, but to discover common threads from which to build collaborations.

“Grass-root initiatives based on innovative expressions of Jewish life have become a global phenomenon,” said Justin Korda, executive director of the ROI Community of Young Jewish Innovators, who noted that today’s emerging Jewish leaders are working both within and beyond existing communal structures. “The ROI Community includes activists and social entrepreneurs from around the world who are breaking down old walls, building new communities, and questioning conventional assumptions about what it means to be – and do – Jewish. Nowhere has this been more challenging, and more promising, than in Europe.”

The 2010 Survey of New Jewish Initiatives builds on the successes of the ground-breaking partnership between Jumpstart, The Natan Fund, and The Samuel Bronfman Foundation that produced the 2008 Survey of New Jewish Organizations and The Innovation Ecosystem: Emergence of a New Jewish Landscape. An announcement is expected in the next week regarding the North American partnership and the overall timing of the 2010 survey.

“This is personal for me,” said Shawn Landres, the co-founder and CEO of Jumpstart, which is coordinating the survey for the partnership. A dual national of the United States, his home, and the Slovak Republic, where he reclaimed his family’s prewar citizenship, he spent two years studying in the UK and another three living in Slovakia, where he became an active member of the Jewish community. “I know first-hand the obstacles that European Jews face, especially after the Holocaust and state socialism. But today, people, ideas, and projects are virtually unlimited in how quickly and easily they can connect, learn, and adapt. Conducting this unique census will show the rest of the Jewish world not only how much contemporary European Jewry has to offer, but how much it’s already doing to build the Jewish future.”

Startup leaders wishing to participate in the Survey may sign up to receive an invitation and link. Most European Jewish startups will receive a direct email invitation to participate in the survey, but the self-registration site is intended to encourage and enable new and less well-known projects to identify themselves.

Once the survey has launched, additional information will be available on the Eco System Website (not yet live).

About the Partners:

The Pears Foundation, established in 1992, is a UK-based organisation seeking to put the Jewish values of social justice into practice at home and abroad. It seeks to act as a catalyst to empower individuals, particularly young people, to become confident and active members of their community and country, by promoting positive identity based on education, social action and volunteering. JHub: The Jewish Social Action Hub in London is an operating programme of the Foundation.

Jumpstart is an incubator, think tank, catalyst, and advocate for sustainable Jewish innovation. Founded in 2008, its mission is to develop, strengthen, and learn from emerging nonprofit organizations that build community at the nexus of community, spirituality, learning, social activism, and culture, in order to transform the broader Jewish community and the world. In addition to research and publications detailing the diversity and vitality of the Jewish startup sector and its growing influence on Jewish life, Jumpstart’s signature initiatives include a joint venture with Community Partners to offer fiscal sponsorship to Jewish projects, and J Space, a Jumpstart-led project to create a multi-tenant nonprofit center for innovative Jewish organizations in Los Angeles.

ROI is a global community of young Jewish innovators that was created by Lynn Schusterman as a partnership between the Center for Leadership Initiatives and Taglit-Birthright Israel. Since the first ROI Summit in 2006, ROI has grown to become one of the leading vehicles in the world for young Jewish innovators to network with peers, gain skills and get traction toward implementing their visions for the Jewish future.