The Orthodox Union (OU) has announced a cohort of six winning nonprofit organizations that it will support through its new Impact Accelerator. Launched in early 2018, the OU Impact Accelerator was created to provide mentorship and early-stage funding for Jewish nonprofit entrepreneurs and their ventures.
The organizations chosen for the first cohort are working to address a broad range of communal issues, from families managing mental illness to at-risk youth. Other winning organizations offer unique educational opportunities.
The six winners were chosen from 57 applicants. The first cohort of the OU’s Impact Accelerator will include:
NechamaComfort – Founded in 2016 by Reva Judas, NechamaComfort supports families who have suffered miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss. The organization seeks to help at the immediate time of the loss as well as ongoing individual, family and group support. NechamaComfort offers training programs for medical personnel, therapists and clergy to help them better address the needs of their clients and congregants. The organization also hosts awareness programs for communities and workplaces providing guidance for participants on being supportive of friends, neighbors and co-workers.
GrowTorah – Founded in 2015 by Yosef Gillers, GrowTorah develops educational Torah garden programs for Jewish schools and communal organizations, incubating Emunah, environmental stewardship, compassion for creatures and Tzedakah. Participants explore Jewish values and Torah lessons through the fundamentals of gardening, farming, and planting.
Yedei Moshe – Founded in 2018 by Yael Wedeck, MSW and Rivka Ariel, Yedei Moshe is a program that seeks out and helps businesses hire at-risk-youth. The group matches at-risk-youth and employers and provides personal mentoring and support for both to help facilitate long term success.
imadi – Founded in 2016 by Chana Esther Schechter, Zeldy Oppen and Goldy Jaroslawicz, imadi empowers individuals and families facing mental health difficulties by providing support, guidance and education. The organization’s goal is to establish functionality in homes that are suffering due to mental illness.
Young Talent Initiative (YTI) – Founded in 2017 by Chananya Begun, YTI is dedicated to the musically talented 16-21-year-old segment within the Orthodox community, infusing them with spiritual inspiration and practical knowledge of their areas of interest. The program connects these individuals with experienced mentors as well as professional music training and production platforms centered around helping them to access a deep spiritual connection to Judaism though their own unique creative musical abilities.
Torah Anytime – Founded in 2006 by Shimon and Rubin Kolyakov, and Yosef Davis, Torah Anytime provides access to recordings of hundreds of Torah lectures given around the world, uploading them to a free-to-access website. The organization’s goal is to enable Jews around the world to access Torah lectures from a wide array of speakers at their convenience.
Led by Founding Director Jenna Beltser and the Accelerator Executive Board, the OU’s Impact Accelerator will pair members of the selected cohort with experienced professional mentors and provide them with OU resources and network infrastructure. The entrepreneurs will take part in a customized curriculum of business skills, coaching, funding and implementation strategies over the next 6-9 months to accelerate their ventures.