Joshua Venture Group Announces 2014-16 Cohort: First All Female Cohort of Jewish Social Entrepreneurs

Joshua Venture Group (JVG) has announced the selection of the 2014-2016 Dual Investment Program cohort which is comprised of six female social entrepreneurs with visions for creating a more dynamic, just, and inclusive Jewish community. Each Fellow will receive more than $100,000 in funding and skill building support over two years to develop their ventures and nurture their leadership and management skills, ensuring the growth of organizations that will strengthen and enhance the Jewish community.

JVG, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reinvigorating and expanding the Jewish community through building the capacity of young ventures and their leadership, carefully chose the exceptional group from a rigorous application process launched in spring 2014. For the first time, the Program called for projects that aligned with specific areas of focus.

Over the course of the Dual Investment Program, which begins this month, each Fellow will receive funding for personalized coaching, training, and networking. The Program is generously supported by The AVI CHAI Foundation, The Crown Family, Dobkin Family Foundation, Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, Mandell L. and Madeleine H. Berman Foundation, UJA-Federation of New York, and William Davidson Foundation.

“We’re thrilled to welcome six bright, driven, and entrepreneurial Fellows to the Dual Investment Program whose ventures seek to reframe how we engage in Jewish learning and living online, in the classroom, and in our communities,” says Lisa Lepson, executive director, JVG. “We are also pleasantly surprised and excited to support a cohort comprised entirely of women. An investment like this in female Jewish leadership is refreshing to see in our community, and we look forward to watching these women build a strong support network together alongside their impactful ventures.”

The 2014-2016 Dual Investment Program Fellows:

Nora FeldhusenPeerCorps, Detroit, MI
PeerCorps is a yearlong mentorship program that invites Jewish teens and b’nai mitzvah students to join together from Jewish denominations and areas of metropolitan Detroit to serve and build relationships with the city of Detroit through partnerships with a variety of local grassroots initiatives. The program builds bridges between teens and tweens, Jews and non-Jews, city and suburbs in a way that is intentional, respectful, and fun. Focus: Detroit

Chana GermanLookstein Virtual Jewish Academy, Jerusalem, Israel
The Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy (LVJA) is an online platform dedicated to providing quality Jewish education to Jewish day school students in North America by enabling schools to supplement and differentiate their instruction for grades 8-12 with affordable, innovative, and engaging lessons. Through LVJA, students are empowered to connect with and become part of a global network of motivated and enthusiastic Jewish learners. Focus: Jewish day schools

Dana Keil – Room on the Bench, Brooklyn, NY
Room on the Bench strives to fully include students with disabilities into Jewish day school communities by involving teachers, outside service providers, parents, and the wider school community. The program recognizes that having children with disabilities in a general education classroom does not prevent academic excellence and can in fact bolster neurotypical learners’ experiences, while simultaneously sending the message that students with disabilities belong in classrooms as well as on play dates and at birthday parties. Focus: New York Jewish day schools

Rebecca Minkus-LiebermanOrot: The Center for New Jewish Learning, Skokie, IL
Orot: The Center for New Jewish Learning is a facility for pluralistic, multidisciplinary, integrated Jewish study and practice taught through reflective manner. It aims to provide the Chicago area with a new model for Jewish engagement: a dynamic, open, and integrative center that brings people together from across a wide spectrum of affiliation (including the unaffiliated) to explore Judaism through a variety of modalities such as meditation, music, creative writing, visual arts, and movement. Focus: Chicago

Alicia Jo RabinsThe Complicated Lives of Biblical Women, Portland, OR
The Complicated Lives of Biblical Women reflects the fascinating and complex stories of women in Torah as a foundational part of Jewish tradition and deepens awareness of their often under-studied stories through a curriculum combining text study with art, music, and participant-generated commentary. The curriculum is structured around “Girls in Trouble,” Alicia Jo Rabins’ indie-folk song cycle, and created in response to requests by educators looking for ways to use this material in the classroom. Focus: Women’s issues

Tikvah Wiener – I.D.E.A. Schools Network, Brooklyn, NY
The I.D.E.A. Schools Network aims to transform Jewish day schools through project-based learning (PBL) and innovative learning practices. PBL creates a classroom that provides more joyful learning where students tackle and solve real world problems; produce multimedia creations that have value and relevance in the real world; and develop their creativity, digital literacy, collaboration skills, and other tools necessary for success in today’s world. Focus: New York Jewish day schools