Orthodox Union Launches First Impact Accelerator Program

The Orthodox Union (OU) has launched the OU Impact Accelerator to rapidly identify and invest in solutions for current and future Jewish communal needs.

The program will is built on mentorship-based growth and early-stage funding for Jewish nonprofit entrepreneurs. In the first cycle, four to six projects will be awarded up to $25,000 each.

“The Torah teaches us that we have a shared responsibility for each other, kol yisrael areivim zeh lazeh, and that the needs of others should always be our own concern,” said OU President Moishe Bane. “Orthodox Jewish social entrepreneurs all over the country are finding innovative ways to address the needs and challenges in our communities. With the OU Impact Accelerator, we can now help scale these important projects to have greater impact and positive change.”

The Impact Accelerator will pair awardees with experienced professional mentors and supply them with OU resources, expertise, and networks. Winning entrepreneurs will take part in a customized curriculum of business skills, coaching, fundraising, and implementation strategies to accelerate their ventures that are solving the community’s most significant needs. They will participate in virtual training and group town halls every other week, with in-person retreats and programming every six to nine months.

Candidates for the program will be Orthodox nonprofit entrepreneurs who live in and cater to the North American Jewish community. Ideally, applicants will have been operating their ventures for one-to-four years and service critical needs of America’s Orthodox community through innovative solutions.

The application process includes completing an online form, an interview with the OU innovations team, and pitching the project to the OU Innovations Board. Selected ventures will begin learning with a cohort of social entrepreneurs in August 2018.

“Since its inception, the OU has accelerated programs that address the needs of the Jewish people,” said OU Assistant Director of Innovation Jenna Beltser. “The mission of this program is to transform the landscape of the Jewish future, by building on our history of innovation and leveraging the entrepreneurial nature of this generation.”

Applications are due by May 6, 2018. For more information or to apply, please visit: https://www.ou.org/accelerator/.