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Federation Innovation

Path by Plywood

By Federation Innovation

 

Path by Plywood with Jewish ATL is a micro-community of Jewish people that gather to learn together, inspire each other, and build their ideas together, and create a community of shared trust and support. This 8-week program is created in collaboration with Plywood People, a non-profit dedicated to leading a community of start-ups doing good. More info on their Path offering here, which they define as “For problem solvers who need direction and accountability as they decide what to do with their idea.”

Date of Events:  

April 8: class gathers for first time, introduce yourself and ideas
April 15, 22, 29:  sections 1, 2 and 3
May 6, 13, 20: sections 4, 5 and 6
May 27: community celebration (TBD in person or virtual) 

This program is in service to our community’s changemakers. Some of them need support growing their idea and better understanding how it can successfully launch. 

By participating in Path, you can expect: 

  • to follow a proven problem-solving method that has been implemented by hundreds of people before you. 
  • to learn from dozens of other social entrepreneurs through video content, written articles, reflective challenges, and group meetups.
  • a weekly video call (8-9 PM on consecutive Thursdays April 8 – May 27) with others in the course, led by a Plywood People facilitator.
  • access to the course content for a year. 
  • Price: $75.00
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MEET THE COMPETITORS

By Federation Innovation, INNOVATION

We’ll find out on January 14 at Propel Pitch: A Virtual Showcase of Jewish Atlanta Innovation. Get ready for a nail-biting night of raw courage and chutzpah as 14 Propel Grantees who’ve been honing their pitches, bring their best ideas to a panel of luminary judges!  In November and December, Propel grantees will receive pitch training from national and local Jewish entrepreneurs with opportunities to practice before their peers, and a professional film crew to capture their story.

It all culminates in a virtual live “final” Propel Pitch night. The stakes are high and very real as Atlanta’s Jewish community changemakers go before a panel of savvy business pros who with the community will award funding of up to $100,000 to three innovators in Jewish Atlanta!

Federation Innovation and the event host committee will share the pitches via e-mail, social media, and other marketing channels in the first two weeks of January. Then Propel grantees will share their video with their networks. The grantees who generate the greatest amount of social media engagement will earn an automatic invite to the final competition.

Propel Grantees up for consideration will represent these four categories:

  1. Next Gen:
    Career Up Now, Moishe House (Russian Speaking Jewish- RSJ), OneTable and Trybal Gatherings
  2. Human Services:
    AgeWell Atlanta, Blue Dove Foundation, Jewish Atlanta During COVID-19 film, Jewish Fertility Foundation, and Tikkun Olam Makers
  3. Education and Spiritual Life:
    18Doors, Jewish Education Collaborative, and Your Jewish Bridge
  4. Social Justice:
    Be’chol Lashon and Repair the World

 

 

 

OUR IMPACT BY THE NUMBERS

By Federation Innovation, INNOVATION

Even before The Front Porch process concluded several years ago, Federation was already making meaningful investments in community innovation. As early as 2013, Federation helped incubate and bring Atlanta Jewish Music Festival, Jewish Student Union, and Jewish Kids Groups to life. That creative energy has now formally coalesced into Federation Innovation – a powerful community idea accelerator created to offer guidance, connections, and resources for our city’s Jewish changemakers.

We’re very proud to note that:

  • 75 percent of our earliest entrepreneurs continue to provide a return on investments that were made over three years ago.
  • We have successfully helped bring these national Jewish nonprofits to Atlanta: Repair the World, Honeymoon Israel, 18 Doors (formerly Interfaith Family), OneTable, Moishe House, Trybal, B’chol Lashon, and CareerUpNow
  • We have supported the creation of new programs within existing organizations, such as AgeWell Atlanta, JCC Intown, JumSpark, Jewish Education Collaborative, and Your Jewish Bridge

Innovation is Deep in Atlanta’s DNA

By Federation Innovation, INNOVATION

Did you know 75 percent of our earliest Federation Innovation entrepreneurs are still serving Jewish Atlanta? Their successes continue to put Atlanta on the map for leadership in Jewish innovation. The roots of Federation Innovation began in 2013 with the inaugural class of ProtéJ, an early grantmaking incubator for Jewish social entrepreneurs in service of new ideas. (Read about the ProtéJ innovators here). Today Federation Innovation keeps that energy going, providing guidance, connection, and resources for Atlanta’s Jewish changemakers and propelling their ideas into impactful realities.

ProtéJ gave birth to several organizations that are now well-established parts of our Jewish ecosystem: Jewish Kids Groups (Ana Robbins), Jewish Student Union (Chaim Neiditch), Creating Connected Communities (Amy Zeide), and In the City Camp (Eileen Price). Other familiar entrepreneurs include Adam Griff, founder of Adamah Adventures, now with NFTY, and Russell Gottschalk, founder of Atlanta Jewish Music Festival, now with Federation Innovation. Their stories prove that innovation is deep in Atlanta’s DNA and that even when an organization closes its doors, the lessons learned are a profound element of innovation. It’s undeniable — Jewish Atlanta’s high success rate for innovation, and the continued engagement of local leaders is remarkable.

2020 Propel Grants

By Federation Innovation, INNOVATION

Federation Innovation has awarded $182,000 in Propel Innovation Renewal Grants in 2020, supporting organizations, ideas, and people reimagining Jewish life in Atlanta. Grant renewals went to seven organizations that were originally awarded innovation funds in June 2019. Many grants meet needs emerging out or the COVID-19, such mobilizing volunteers to serve in and outside of our community (Repair the World), broader access to mental health services (The Blue Dove Foundation), and a different delivery system for aging services (AgeWell Atlanta).

Here’s where innovation is happening across metro Atlanta.

18Doors – 18Doors empowers people in interfaith relationships to engage in Jewish life and make Jewish choices, and encourages Jewish communities to welcome them. Through this pilot initiative, 18Doors will develop a web-based tool for engaged interfaith couples that have chosen not to use Jewish clergy, but are still interested in creating a wedding ceremony infused with Jewish traditions.

Career Up Now – Career Up Now’s Women of Wisdom is a local community where young women explore Jewish values and career advancement with community and industry leaders. The community focuses on women’s empowerment, with Jewish women community and industry leaders serving as role models.

Tikkun Olam Makers –  TOM (Tikkun Olam Maker) at Georgia Tech (GT) is part of TOM Global: a movement of communities that creates and disseminates affordable solutions to neglected challenges of people living with disabilities, the elderly, and the poor. In partnership with JF&CS, TOM at GT will identify need-knowers in the Atlanta community to participate in a Spring 2021 Makeathon event.

AgeWell Atlanta – Information and Referral Concierge
Most older adults prefer to stay in their own homes as they age, which increases the need for a coordinated system of care. This grant will enable AgeWell Atlanta to implement a data management system, to help track delivery of services, collect outcomes data, determine the impact of its work, and identify service gaps.

Be’chol Lashon – Passport to Peoplehood
Atlanta’s Jewish community is diverse and increasingly so, but our legacy institutions struggle to address and serve Jews of color. Be’chol Lashon, which means “in every language,” received support to offer diversity training workshops and educational resources to create greater awareness of racial and ethnic diversity in Atlanta’s Jewish Community.

The Blue Dove Foundation – Mental Health Wellbeing Toolkit
A comprehensive project addressing mental health and substance abuse issues through a toolkit and training sessions for organizational leaders, community members, and Jewish camps. to serve as “mental health first responders.” Addresses increased mental health needs that have arisen during COVID-19.

Jewish Atlanta During COVID-19 Film – Entrepreneur
Grant support for a film will highlight and document the unique history of the Jewish community in Atlanta during COVID times. This film will be created in collaboration with The Breman Museum and has gained the invaluable support of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival’s leadership team.

Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta – Jewish Education Collaborative
Part of a larger project to reimagine a model for Jewish education in Atlanta, this grant supports moving three supplemental education programs into an innovation process with the national Jewish Education Project.

Jewish Fertility Foundation – Modern Jewish Family
The Jewish Fertility Foundation (JFF) provides financial assistance, educational awareness, and emotional support to Jews who have medical infertility. One in six Jewish couples experience infertility, and JFF helps them feel supported through this journey. The organization is seeing two new client trends, including 1) an increase in the number of single moms by choice and 2) an increase in multi-faith couples utilizing JFF’s emotional support services and receiving JFF Fertility Grants.

Moishe House – Russian-Speaking House
This grant will enable the expansion of Moishe House’s successful programs by continuing to support the recent addition of a fourth house in Brookhaven to serve the growing Russian-speaking Jewish population.

OneTable Atlanta
Atlanta-based OneTable engages Jewishly underserved niche populations, such as Jews of Color, LGBTQ, as well as underserved geographic areas in Atlanta. This grant will enable OneTable to recruit more hosts in these populations.

Repair The World — Solidarity Through Service
This grant is an investment in racial justice, educational learning, and a technology solution to serve and scale virtual volunteer experiences over MLK weekend.

Trybal Gatherings – Entrepreneur
Trybal’s core program is a four-day, three-night “camp” experience that provides a socially Jewish environment for millennials to have fun, connect with new people, and plug into a dynamic Jewish community during a purposeful Shabbat retreat. The retreat serves as a grassroots entry point to Jewish communal life. Trybal’s partnership model is designed to create mutual value and lead to sustainability for local supporters/partners. With tens of thousands of Birthright and camp alumni in our region, Trybal represents a major opportunity for Jewish millennial engagement.

Your Jewish Bridge – Communal Rabbi
Challenging the concept of membership as the sole “access card” to communal engagement and rabbinic support, YJB’s community rabbi provides life cycle and other rabbinic services to the larger community on a fee-for-service model. This grant supports Your Jewish Bridge in expanding its business model, strengthening its communal presence, and responding to pastoral needs in the community.

 

The Moment for Innovation is Now

By Federation Innovation, INNOVATION

Jewish Diversity: The Time is Now!

In Biblical times, Abraham and Sarah were models of welcoming strangers and ensuring they felt comfortable. That’s the Jewish value that drives the Passport to Peoplehood program from Be’chol Lashon.  

It started at Camp Be’chol Lashon where campers use their ‘passports’ to ‘travel’ to a different country to encounter Judaism through the culture of the Jewish community in that region. The new-to-them culture welcomed the campers with food, dance, and experiences, all woven together by Judaism.  

Now, ignited by a Propel grant through Federation Innovation, Passport to Peoplehood is bringing these welcoming encounters outside of the camp walls and into the lives of Atlantans. They’re creating new ways to learn about and embrace ethnically, racially, and culturally diverse Jews. 

Federation Innovation ignites and funds community innovation, empowers changemakers, and encourages Jewish Atlanta to try new things that bring Jewish possibilities to life. 

Learn More about Federation Innovation

What Gabby Knew

While many people looked the other way, Gabby Spatt could see that mental health needs and substance abuse, were spiking in Atlanta over the last decade. So, as Executive Director of The Blue Dove Foundation, she started working on a Mental Health Toolkit to start addressing these issues. 

Just as CPR helps assist an individual having a heart attack, the Mental Health Toolkit and training helps assist someone experiencing a mental illness or substance abuse-related crisis. The Toolkit is meant to be a first line of defense – to help identify an issue and help the person find the best next steps.

Gabby and The Blue Dove Foundation leveraged a Propel grant from Federation Innovation to create the Toolkit and a second Propel grant this year to finalize and distribute it. 

Federation Innovation ignites and funds community innovation, empowers changemakers, and encourages Jewish Atlanta to try new things that bring Jewish possibilities to life. 

Learn More about Federation Innovation

Say "Shalom” to Sasha, Michelle & Gabi

Привет and Шалом!

That’s “Hello” and “Shalom” in Russian. That’s what Sasha, Michelle, and Gabi say in Atlanta’s new Russian-Speaking Moishe House.

Not only does this fourth and newest Moishe House now reach young adults in the Brookhaven area, with Sasha, Michelle, and Gabi at the helm, it’s a place for them to explore their shared Russian culture. In this house, Russian is spoken, and Russian-Jewish identity and outreach are the focus. Powered by a grant from Federation Innovation, they’re sharing their culture, amplifying Jewish diversity, and exploring their Jewish roots. 

Federation Innovation ignites and funds community innovation, empowers changemakers, and encourages Jewish Atlanta to try new things that bring Jewish possibilities to life. 

Learn More about Federation Innovation

Renewing Our Investment In Innovation & Resilience

By Federation Innovation, INNOVATION

Federation Innovation has awarded $182,000 in Propel Innovation Renewal Grants, supporting organizations, ideas, and people reimagining Jewish life in Atlanta. These grant renewals went to seven organizations that were originally awarded innovation funds in June 2019.

“These organizations were selected for grant renewals because they have demonstrated their impact through initiatives that are sparking long-term, systemic change and social good in Jewish Atlanta,” said Jori Mendel, Vice President, Federation Innovation. “Due to the COVID-19 crisis, there are emerging needs such as mobilizing volunteers to serve in and outside of our community (Repair the World), broader access to mental health services (The Blue Dove Foundation), and a different delivery system for aging services (AgeWell Atlanta) to name just a few.”

“Our goal is to support the bold work of these grant recipients in an exponential manner because we must invest in these visionary changemakers like never before.”

Additional Propel grants for new projects will be announced in just a few weeks to align with the evolving needs of the community.

Repair The World — Solidarity Through Service
To build consistent and meaningful volunteer and service experiences. This grant will support an investment in racial justice, educational learning and a technology solution to serve and scale virtual volunteer experiences over MLK weekend.

The Blue Dove Foundation – Mental Health Wellbeing Toolkit
This is a comprehensive project addressing mental health and substance abuse issues through a toolkit and training sessions for organizational leaders, community members and Jewish camps to serve as “mental health first responders.” The Jewish Mental Health Wellbeing Toolkit will address increased mental health needs that have arisen during COVID-19 and will be launched virtually.

Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta – Jewish Education Collaborative
As part of a larger project to reimagine a model for Jewish education in Atlanta, this program leverages teachers as catalysts for change. This grant supports moving three supplemental education programs ready to experiment through a process with the national Jewish Education Project to rapidly innovate their models and provide learnings to greater Atlanta.

AgeWell Atlanta – Information and Referral Concierge
Atlanta is home to one of the fastest growing senior communities in the country. Most older adults prefer to stay in their own homes as they age, which increases the need for a coordinated system of care. This grant will enable AgeWell Atlanta to implement a data management system, which will enable it to track delivery of services, collect outcomes data, determine the impact of its work, and identify service gaps to further enable older adults and caregivers to access a coordinated continuum of services supporting maximum wellness, wherever they reside.

OneTable Atlanta
Atlanta-based OneTable will extend its focus on engaging Jewishly underserved demographic areas and niche populations, such as Jews of Color, LGBTQ, as well as underserved geographic areas in Greater Atlanta. This grant will enable OneTable to recruit more hosts in these populations and focus on converting attendees into repeat hosts.

Your Jewish Bridge – Communal Rabbi
Moving beyond the concept of membership as the sole “access card” to communal engagement and rabbinic support, the community rabbi provides life cycle and other rabbinic services to the larger community. This grant will support Your Jewish Bridge in expanding its business model, strengthening its communal presence and responding to emergent pastoral needs in the community.

Moishe House – Russian-Speaking House
This grant will further enable the expansion of Moishe House’s successful programs by continuing to support the recent addition of a 4th house in Brookhaven to serve the growing Russian-speaking Jewish population in Atlanta.

Propel Innovation Grantees: Impacting Jewish Life in Atlanta

By Federation Innovation, INNOVATION

Federation Innovation has just announced that four organizations will receive Propel Innovation Grants. The latest grants bring Federation’s total community investment in innovation to nearly $500k, over the past two years — all in support of creative, scalable projects that can impact Jewish life.

Jori Mendel, V.P. for Innovation said, “We are proud that for nearly a decade our community and Federation together have encouraged innovation. We have funded 50+ organizations and initiatives, and built infrastructure to enable creative minds to learn from and with each other. The opportunity in this moment, is how can we continue build on this work in an exponential manner? In the year ahead, we will keep investing in and incubating new ideas and bold initiatives across our ecosystem. We are committed to guiding our community through this together, so we can prepare for a resilient future

Be’chol Lashon (Passport to Peoplehood)
Atlanta’s Jewish community is diverse and increasingly so, but our legacy institutions struggle to address and serve Jews of color. As a Southern city, Atlanta has a complex history with regards to race. Be’chol Lashon, which means “in every language,” will offer diversity training workshops and educational resources to create greater awareness of racial and ethnic diversity in Atlanta’s Jewish Community. The goal is to provide the tools for organizations to fulfill their mission of being more inclusive. Diverse trainers will facilitate community conversations about race and identity in a Jewish context, followed up by personal consultations.

Jewish Atlanta During COVID-19 Film (Entrepreneur)
The film will highlight and document the unique history of the Jewish community in Atlanta during COVID times. This film will explore Atlanta’s Jewish community during this unprecedented time, while also promoting Atlanta to communities around the world. This film will be created in collaboration with The Breman Museum and has gained the invaluable support of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival’s leadership team.

Trybal Gatherings (Entrepreneur)
Trybal’s core program is a four-day, three-night camp experience that provides a socially Jewish environment for millennials to have fun, connect with new people, and plug into a dynamic Jewish community during a purposeful Shabbat retreat. The retreat serves as a grassroots entry point to Jewish communal life. Trybal’s partnership model is designed to create mutual value and lead to sustainability for local supporters/partners. With tens of thousands of Birthright and camp alumni in our region, Trybal represents a major opportunity for Jewish millennial engagement.

Jewish Fertility Foundation (Modern Jewish Family)
The Jewish Fertility Foundation (JFF) provides financial assistance, educational awareness, and emotional support to Jews who have medical infertility. One in six Jewish couples experience infertility, and JFF helps them feel supported through this journey. The organization is seeing two new client trends, including 1) an increase in the number of single moms by choice and 2) an increase in multi-faith couples utilizing JFF’s emotional support services and receiving JFF Fertility Grants. By supporting their clients, emotionally and financially, throughout their fertility journey, JFF is able to continue the important work of building a vibrant Jewish community.

What Brad Does

By COMMUNITY, Federation Innovation, INNOVATION, PHILANTHROPY

You don’t need to save the future of Jewish Atlanta by yourself, Brad Cook already has an idea for that – it’s called Career Up Now and it creates professional connections for young people through a Jewish lens.

Setting Young Jews on Amazing Career Paths

Dr. Bradley Caro Cook

As a Jewish entrepreneur and innovator (and an Atlanta native), I create simple solutions to engage Jewish young adults with low to no current Jewish connection or engagement. I believe that unless there’s a drastic shift in how we grab the attention of 18-26 year-olds, keep them engaged with Judaism, and inspire them to become the next generation of leadership, our Jewish communal infrastructure is at risk. When I learned about Federation Innovation’s Propel Grant program, I got excited.

I know that college students and recent graduates are hungry to advance their careers, grow their networks, and build community. So, in 2015, Rabbi Adam Grossman and I launched Career Up Now, combining mentorship and engagement, through a Jewish lens, to help emerging professionals form personal, professional, and soulful connections with industry leaders in the Jewish community. Since launching we have piloted in 9 U.S. cities and are scaling in four of those cities. Now, thanks to a Bloom seed grant from Federation Innovation, and support from the Joyce and Ramie Tritt Family Foundation and Mark Silberman, Career Up Now is in Atlanta.

In Atlanta, our first cohort consisted of 12 student leaders from Emory University. I soon thereafter realized there is little support or mentoring for young Jewish women entering business and STEM fields.  As time went on I found this to be true on a national level and kept hearing Rabbi Tarfon, our ancient Jewish cheerleader and rebbe say, “while you don’t have to complete the task, you are not free to desist from this critical endeavor.”

While examining our mentor demographic, I discovered that we had only one woman industry leader contact or mentor for every 20 men. To address that imbalance, we doubled down to solve the problem we’ve launched Women of Wisdom https://www.careerupnow.org/atlanta-spring-2019.

While we achieved gender balance for our initial Atlanta Career Up Now due to the high demand for more women’s programs in Atlanta we needed to rapidly grow the number of women industry leaders in our network. To do this, we leveraged growth hacking for engagement,  a process of rapid engagement growth enabling non-profits to accomplish in three months that which would take years to do. Using these strategies, we recruited 200 women industry leaders into our network in just three months. Now these Women of Wisdom are helping expand our network by engaging their colleagues and friends with Career Up Now programming.

Atlanta has been a pivotal experience and we are excited to continue to grow Career Up Now in Atlanta.

MLK Shabbat Suppers Celebrate Diversity & Dialogue

By CARING, COMMUNITY, Federation Innovation, INNOVATION, Making Jewish Places, NextGen, People in Need, PHILANTHROPY

For Jews and their loved ones, Shabbat dinner is far more than a meal. It’s a weekly platform for holiness, hospitality, peace, plenty and conversation. With that in mind, Federation awarded a Bloom Innovation seed grant to several organizations who collaborated on ways to use MLK weekend as a moment to turn Shabbat dinners into opportunities for dialogue and understanding.

On the Friday preceding Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 144 individuals across Atlanta showed up for a “MLK Shabbat Supper,” a guided dinner and discussion to honor Dr. King made possible by the collaborative efforts of Repair the World AtlantaOneTable, the American Jewish CommitteeHands On Atlanta, and Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. There were ten simultaneous MLK Shabbat Suppers throughout the city, in neighborhoods ranging from Sandy Springs to the Westside. The religiously, racially and gender diverse group of hosts came from among the lay leadership of Jewish community partners including the above organizations, as well as Jewish Family and Career Services, Moishe House and The Schusterman Family Foundation.

Participants at the dinners enjoyed a meal while diving into a discussion guide filled with thought-provoking quotes and questions from a Jewish perspective about civil rights, racial justice and other issues of importance to Atlanta. Feel free to download the guide.

As OneTable Atlanta Hub Manager, Shira Hahn, put it, “By joining together at the table, we work towards creating new traditions that foster authentic and thoughtful engagement across difference to recognize our past and ideate a better future. Moving forward we will continue to build solidarity and greater understanding within the Jewish community and with all Atlantans.”

For those interested in further opportunities for service and dialogue, join Repair the World and partners for an anti-human trafficking event on January 27 and cooking for the Nicholas House family shelter on February 22; details and registration here.