Who do you work with?
  • Early-stage Jewish nonprofits and their founders
  • Philanthropists and foundations who are dedicated to supporting innovation
  • Established organizations seeking to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurialism
Why do early-stage organizations need help?
Because in order to build something great they need expertise, resources, connections, access and friends – in short, they need partners.
Why can’t they figure it out themselves?
Because they need a laser focus on executing their mission, but are often bogged down by the demands of running a new company at the same time.
What do you do for the organizations?
Connect them with resources. Everything from help getting incorporated, setting up an accounting system, technology consulting, web and desktop publishing; and also higher level stuff like development training, board development, networking, organizational oversight, grant compliance and assessment, and resource sharing.
So, you’re an incubator?
Sort of. Jumpstart isn’t focused on residency. We’re more into providing the conceptual space to grow. We combine elements of an incubator with a think tank, action laboratory and leadership network.
Do you give grants to startups?
Not directly. Jumpstart works with emerging organizations to build their capacity not by giving them money. Sometimes our assistance can come in the form of a service grant – when a funder gives Jumpstart resources to work with a specific project. We also act as a fiscal sponsor for emerging organizations so we act as a conduit for them to get grants from other funders.
What do you do for the funders?
We make sure their funding has real impact with measurable results. We work with the entrepreneurs to help them build well-run businesses, as well as assist them in exercising the kind of stewardship that foundations expect in deserving grantees. We also share knowledge and establish best practices, as well as analyze, evaluate, reflect, and opine on developments in the field, so philanthropists can make informed choices about where to put their money.
Why network the thought leaders and bring them together?
Because their interactions are a force multiplier for innovation. They teach and learn from one another, and exchange ideas and creative approaches. Jumpstart helps them turn their creativity into results – and then makes what they’ve learned available to inspire other leaders and organizations. We hope to become a clearinghouse for emergent best practices.
Why not just give money directly to the organizations doing the work?
You should. Jumpstart isn’t instead of giving directly to organizations you care about. Jumpstart is in addition to. Jumpstart is about also supporting their sustainability in a way that money alone can’t. Jumpstart also hopes to become a conduit for philanthropic dollars to reach worthy recipients, in the form of operating support and targeted programmatic and innovation grants, including microgrants for experimental initiatives and programs.
Why should we focus on new organizations?
Because we’re in the midst of a real renaissance in modern Jewish life and much of that juice is happening outside institional walls and in new initiatives. Without structural support many of these great new projects may not survive, or at least not thrive, in the current economic environment.
Why are you the right people to take this on?
Because we’ve been working with emerging Jewish organizations since the phenomenon began to coalesce. We’ve been lay leaders at IKAR since its birth, and over the last several years we built the first network of Jewish Emergent leaders at Synagogue 3000, where we created the Jewish Emergent Initiative, the first-ever national support system for emerging Jewish leaders. We also have an extraordinary international group of experienced advisors who are committed to our goals and have confidence in our abilities to achieve our mission.
Why are you doing this? Really.
Because we love what we do. Because the old school Jewish institutions aren’t lining up to support emerging Jewish life, but we think someone has to. Because we see the transformative power that all this 21st century Jewish eclecticism has, and we want to help build the future of Jewish life.