Transforming our Communal Landscape

The first results of the 2008 Survey of New Jewish Organizations are in. Commissioned by The Natan Fund and The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, and conducted by Jumpstart, a think tank and incubator for sustainable Jewish innovation, the survey has confirmed that the number of Jewish entrepreneurial non-profit organizations has exploded over the past decade. Additionally these start-ups are a huge economy and are making significant long-term in-roads into the established Jewish world.

The findings include:

  • More than 300 initiatives are serving as many as 400,000 individuals.
  • As much as $500 million has already been invested in this start-up sector.
  • New initiatives succeed at attracting the exact demographic that established Jewish institutions struggle to reach, at a fraction of the cost in time and resources. More than two thirds of the population engaged by Jewish start-ups are under the age of 45.
  • In 2008 alone, this sector represented a $100 million economy, supported in part by nearly 100,000 individual charitable contributions. The survey’s findings about the size and scope of the Jewish start-up sector mean that this is not a passing fad, nor simply a novel outreach strategy.
  • Jewish start-ups are feeling the effects of the economic crisis and need collaborative sector-wide support to survive; 59% of respondents reported having already taken action in response to the economy.

The results of the survey point to a wide range of significant challenges, from fostering financial transparency and sound budget frameworks to how populations are engaged and what methods are used to communicate with constituents.

And, as fallout from the economic crisis and Madoff scandal continues to ripple throughout the landscape of Jewish funders, foundations and donors are under increasing pressure to make smart and informed decisions as to where to invest their philanthropic dollars. “Many of these newer, smaller initiatives are particularly vulnerable in the current economy,” said Jumpstart CEO & Director of Research Shawn Landres.

Tune in live for the survey results and accompanying workshops tomorrow 5 pm EST (New York) or Thursday 8:30 am PST (LA).

For more about the survey check out our posts, The State of Jewish Start-Ups and Jewish Start-Ups: LA’s Increasing Role.