By Stefanie Rhodes
With deep pride and gratitude, I am delighted to present the 13th Slingshot Guide to Jewish Innovation. Throughout these pages, you will encounter some of the most forward-thinking organizations in Jewish life that are responding to urgent challenges and offering new ways to build a diverse and dynamic Jewish future.
This guide celebrates organizations led by and for Jews of color, LGBTQ Jews, Latinx Jews, Jews of every denomination, those who identify as Jew-“ish” and those who are seeking connection in a community they were not born into.
As Slingshot comes of age in its Bat Mitzvah year, I am struck by how the Jewish community and the broader world have changed since our very first guide was published in 2005. Thirteen years ago, a group of Jewish young philanthropists proposed publishing a guide to celebrate innovative opportunities in Jewish life. In 2005, those opportunities seemed few and far between.
Today, against a backdrop of unrest and activism, the landscape of Jewish innovation is thriving nationwide – a testament to the fierce creativity of our visionary funders. I am deeply grateful that they continue to invest in a Jewish future rooted in passion and possibility.
Now, as Slingshot celebrates its Bat Mitzvah, I am proud to share that we are entering a new phase of our work, on the heels of a rigorous strategic planning process. As the Jewish philanthropic landscape continues to shift, and as emerging young leaders change the ways we think, act, and give, Slingshot will focus and deepen its efforts to engage Jewish young philanthropists – through leadership trainings, community-building efforts, and more. We will return to our roots in order to strengthen and sustain Jewish life for the future.
This year’s Slingshot Guide will be the last of its kind as we dedicate our energies and resources to new initiatives. Rest assured, all of the information in every guide will live in perpetuity on Slingshot’s website. Moving forward, we will continue to highlight innovation, but will adapt our guide to reflect our new priorities.
As we transition from creating a guide for funders to guiding future philanthropists, we do so with humility and confidence that this next phase of Slingshot will continue to have a deep, meaningful, and game-changing impact on Jewish life for years to come.
I want to express my gratitude to the more than 300 organizations Slingshot has featured since 2005. Their collective passion and commitment to Jewish life has enriched our community beyond measure.
I also want to thank the evaluators who have volunteered countless hours to reading applications, providing feedback, and addressing due diligence questions. This resource has always been created by and for the community. It would not have been possible without our evaluators’ support.
And finally, I want to thank the readers of Slingshot. Whether this guide is your first or your 13th, I hope you will be inspired to get involved in something new, fund a project that reflects your vision of the world, and share the book with others.
I look forward to continuing the journey with you.
Stefanie Rhodes is Executive Director of Slingshot.