The Orthodox Union (OU), the nation’s oldest and largest umbrella organization for the North American Orthodox Jewish community, has launched the application process for the third cohort of its Impact Accelerator program to rapidly identify and invest in ventures addressing current and future Jewish communal interests.  

The program runs over the course of 12 months and is built on mentorship-based growth and early-stage funding for Jewish nonprofit entrepreneurs. Chosen ventures will be awarded between $10,000 and $15,000 each.

Candidates for the program are Jewish nonprofit entrepreneurs who live in and cater to the North American Jewish community. Ideally, applicants will have been operating their ventures for one to four years, and service critical needs of America’s Orthodox community through innovative solutions.

The application process includes completing an online form, an interview with the OU Impact Accelerator selection committee and a pitch to the program’s board. Applications opened on Monday, Oct. 12, and are due Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. For more information, or to apply, please visit: https://www.ou.org/accelerator/apply.

“The Torah teaches us that we have a shared responsibility for each other and that the needs of others should always be our own concern,” said OU President Moishe Bane. “Orthodox Jewish social entrepreneurs all over the country are finding innovative ways to address the needs and challenges in our communities and our hope is to work with them to make their solutions scalable to our wider community.”

“With the trials our community has gone through over the past year, our community’s needs have grown and our responsibility to each other has only been further highlighted. The upcoming OU Impact Accelerator cohort will address some of these needs as well as others which were present before the pandemic,” added Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer.

The Impact Accelerator will pair members of the selected cohort with experienced professional mentors and supply them with the OU’s resources, network and knowledge base. Winning entrepreneurs will take part in a customized curriculum of business skills, coaching, funding and implementation strategies, which will begin through virtual meetings and once deemed safe—on-site seminars at the OU headquarters, to accelerate their ventures that are solving the community’s most significant needs. Some of the past cohort ventures have already doubled their client base and earned significant communal recognition for their efforts.

Last year’s second cohort’s participants included:

  • ANI TEFILLAH/The Voice of Jewish Education, a prayer-enhancement curriculum that imbues the process of praying with deeper meaning and connection for school-age children, with the goal of helping them look forward to praying daily.
  • Communities Confronting Substance Abuse, Inc., which helps bring awareness, education, prevention and programming regarding substance abuse and addiction to local Jewish communities.
  • Chinuch Yehudi, an organization helping to educate the nearly 1 million Israelis living in the United States about the critical need of providing their children with a Jewish education and assist them, financially and otherwise, in transferring their children to Orthodox Jewish day schools.
  • Daily Giving, an online platform helping users fulfill the mitzvah of tzedakah daily by harnesses the power of crowdfunding to feed the poor, help those with special needs and much more.

“The mission of the OU Impact Accelerator is to transform the Jewish future by helping communal entrepreneurs affect our wider communal ecosystem,” said OU Impact Accelerator Founding Director Jenna Beltser. “By working with the Orthodox Union, these ventures will have the ability to tap into the OU’s professionals, its network and organizational expertise in program development; nonprofit management; marketing and more.”

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Orthodox Union
Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union, (OU), serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs. For more information, visit https://www.ou.org/.
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