UpStart Opens Applications to Support Leaders Driving Change in Uncertainty

As long-standing Jewish institutions and communal leadership face the current health and financial crises, UpStart has redesigned and relaunched its flagship Change Accelerator program for innovation-minded professionals – otherwise known as intrapreneurs – in the Jewish communal field.

The Change Accelerator will gather select cohorts of professionals to learn how to think like entrepreneurs, by learning how to think strategically, change course quickly, and develop creative solutions to meet the current moment. Over the course of 6 months, this selective professional development program will empower cohorts of leaders with the skills, tools, and network they need to meet their communities’ rapidly evolving needs, through this crisis and beyond.

“Across the established institutions that drive so much of Jewish life, individuals can play a pivotal role in creating vibrant opportunities for Jews to connect,” said Aaron Katler, CEO at UpStart. “Now more than ever, organizations need to double down on their greatest assets – their team members – to help them break through this moment and thrive on the other side.”

UpStart is bringing the same combination of practical skills and expert coaching that it’s known for with its flagship Venture Accelerator, but with an updated curriculum to help institutional leaders navigate the current climate, reframe challenges as opportunities, and solve for the push-back that often accompanies meaningful change.

Since UpStart launched this program in 2017 in Chicago, over 60 individuals from 50 institutions have tackled some of the Jewish community’s toughest challenges. After expanding to four cities in 2019, this year’s program will connect professionals across the country virtually. Participation in the Change Accelerator will grant professionals the opportunity to join the UpStart network, a unique cross-section of leaders, ventures, and philanthropists who are seeding game-changing ideas and collaborations in Jewish life.

Alumni of the Change Accelerator have launched new initiatives, been promoted within their organizations, and created unexpected, fruitful collaborations. Robyn Brenner, a participant in UpStart’s inaugural Change Accelerator in Chicago, said “[The program] gave me a framework to think about a challenge through a different lens, to take risks and get outside of my comfort zone, but most importantly, it gave me the skills to make an impact in integrating and executing innovation within my organization.”

Applications for this year’s groundbreaking program are currently open nationwide, and will close on November 13.