Jumpstart co-founder and CEO Joshua Avedon is a social entrepreneur, educator, and start-up veteran. Joshua has spent the last several years writing, teaching, and advocating around the globe for innovation within the Jewish community. He is a recognized leader in forward-thinking use of technology, viral communication, and community-building strategies within the world of emerging Jewish organizations. He serves as an advisor to a number of new Jewish initiatives and their leaders, developing the knowledge and connections necessary for social entrepreneurs and resource providers to make strategic choices about building the Jewish future. In addition to his work at Jumpstart, he is one of the founders of IKAR, one of the largest and most successful Jewish emergent communities in the country. He has written extensively on Jewish innovation, including many Jumpstart publications and a master’s thesis on IKAR that examines how best practices from the for-profit management world, tipping point strategies, and social networking were used to create a dynamic new model for Jewish community.
Joshua is an inaugural American Jewish World Service (AJWS) Global Justice Fellow and a member of the Selah Leadership Network. He has a BA from UC Berkeley in Mass Communications as well as an MBA in nonprofit management from the American Jewish University; he also is certified as a facilitator by the Center for Leadership Initiatives and as a consultant/trainer in multigenerational family philanthropy by 21/64. Joshua’s background in operations includes experience building infrastructure, overseeing complex accounting systems and managing million-dollar budgets. As a successful business and communication strategy consultant for both for-profits and nonprofits, Joshua brings operational know-how, a strong background in grassroots marketing and expertise in harnessing emerging technologies to the Jumpstart team. Previously he was Director of Business Management and Communication for Synagogue 3000, where he oversaw financial/organizational infrastructure, S3K’s online presence, marketing, publishing, and media relations.
Connecting people, ideas, and resources, Jumpstart co-founder Shawn Landres has earned international recognition for his leadership in social innovation. A widely published essayist and editor whose work has been featured by the White House and covered by TIME, the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, he has more than two decades of international experience in organizational development, network building, social scientific research & analysis, and interreligious leadership, from the Clinton Administration’s Reinventing Government initiative to projects funded by the U.S. State Department and the British government. Shawn has co-authored Jumpstart’s groundbreaking Connected to Give reports on household charitable giving by Jews and Americans of other religions.
Shawn serves as a Los Angeles County Commissioner on the Quality and Productivity Commission, whose mission is to provide advice, innovative ideas, assistance and support to the County’s elected officials, managers, and employees to promote the effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of County public services. He is Chair of the Board of Managers of Hub LA, a community of changemakers whose mission is to advance social innovation in Los Angeles and beyond; and a non-executive Manager of SPARK Experience, a full-service digital agency that applies a data-driven approach to create websites, apps, campaigns, and communication strategies, leveraging psychology and direct user research to ensure success. Shawn also serves on the Investors Advisory Board for The Mother Company, which creates social & emotional learning products for 3- to 6-year olds; and he advises InVenture and TherOzone.
In 2013 Shawn was elected by his peers to the Board of Directors of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry. He is an Advisor on Faith-Based and Interreligious Innovation to The Nexus: Global Youth Summit on Innovative Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship. Shawn also serves on the Sh’ma Advisory Committee and the Liberty Hill Foundation Advisory Council.
A respected researcher, editor, and essayist, and a popular lecturer both in the United States and abroad, Shawn has focused much of his work, within and beyond the academy, on convening conversations, where none exist, on matters of intellectual, political, and moral urgency. He has co-edited four books on topics as diverse as the practice of ethnography; the interreligious impact of the film The Passion of the Christ; the intersection of religion, violence, memory, and place; and a campaign biography of Bill Clinton. Shawn holds degrees from Columbia University (BA cum laude, religion), the University of Oxford (MSt with distinction, social anthropology), and the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he earned a PhD in religious studies. Shawn is a Research Scholar at the Institute for Jewish & Community Research and Be’chol Lashon. He holds advanced certification from 21/64 as a consultant/trainer in multigenerational family philanthropy and is certified as a facilitator by the Center for Leadership Initiatives. Previously Shawn served as Director of Research for Synagogue 3000, where he managed the launch of the S3K Synagogue Studies Institute, launched the widely read S3K Reports series and Synablog, and conceived S3K’s Jewish Emergent Initiative. He also was a charter co-chair of the Clinton Foundation Millennium Network Leadership Council.
Just a year after Jumpstart’s launch, the Forward named Shawn to its list of the 50 most influential American Jewish leaders, calling him “an essential thinker in explaining the new Jewish spirituality and culture.” In 2011 Jewcy named him to the “Big Jewcy 100.” Shawn received a 2012 Ted Comet Exemplar Award, given once every four years by the Jewish Communal Service Association of North America and the World Council of Jewish Communal Service for “outstanding leadership & furthering international cooperation benefiting the Jewish people.” The same year, the White House featured Shawn as a “spotlight innovator” and speaker at its Faith-based Social Innovators Conference. In 2013, the Liberty Hill Foundation awarded him its NextGen Leadership Award, given each year to an inspirational leader who invests time and raises funds to advance social justice in Los Angeles. He was an inaugural (2009) Ariane de Rothschild Fellow (Social Entrepreneurship & Cross-Cultural Network) and an International Nahum Goldmann Fellow (2010, 2012); and he is a member of the ROI Community of Young Jewish Innovators, the Selah Leadership Network, and the New Leaders Project (where he serves on the Steering Committee).