Fourth Annual “Slingshot” Guidebook Names 50 Most Innovative Jewish Nonprofits in America
(Atlanta, GA) – September 15, 2008 – Etgar 36, an Atlanta based Jewish educational venture created by Billy Planer, has been named one of the nation’s 50 most innovative Jewish nonprofits in Slingshot 08/09, a resource guide to Jewish innovation. Compiled and published by 21/64, the annual guidebook features programs, organizations, and leaders that take innovative approaches to addressing age-old concerns of identity and community in Jewish life today. The first time being named in Slingshot, Etgar 36 made the cut this year after an extensive evaluation process overseen by 25 foundation professionals.
Each year, the organizations listed in Slingshot offer a glimpse into the trends shaping North America’s Jewish nonprofit sector and the Jewish community at large. Those selected in Slingshot 08/09 are reinvigorating Jewish expression and practice in the areas of ritual, history, language, liturgy, culture, and tikkun olam, healing the planet.
Etgar 36 is dedicated to developing the future Jewish political voice by taking Jewish teens on non partisan, non denominational journeys throughout America, developing their identities, and empowering them to get involved politically and socially to create change in the world. We run a 36 day summer cross country trip and during the school year we take Jewish Day Schools, Synagogue Confirmation classes and Jewish youth groups on journeys to specific cities. Billy Planer created the Etgar 36 summer journey in 2003 and began the winter trips for schools and synagogues in 2005. As the Atlanta Jewish Times said when they named Billy as one of the 27 most influential leaders, “The founder of Etgar 36 might not be the first to recognize that a strong Jewish identity can develop through travel in America and not just through trips to Israel and to Holocaust sites in Europe, but he has done as much or more than anyone to put the idea into practice.
“I found out that Etgar 36 would be included in Slingshot on the last day of our summer journey. It was a great way to end a fantastic trip. The biggest obstacle is getting word out about our program. Since Etgar 36 is an independent program and not affiliated with a branch of Judaism, we don’t have much access to teens, organizations and families so inclusion on Slingshot is a strong validation of our work. It also exposes us to a vibrant funding community, a valuable vehicle as we work to grow our capacity and take our programming to the next level.
Etgar 36 was selected by a group of 25 foundation professionals from hundreds of nominees. All nominees were evaluated based on programmatic innovation, community impact, leadership and organizational efficiency.
“Slingshot 08/09 shows us once again that both fledgling programs and established organizations across the U.S. are teeming with Jewish innovation, said Roger Bennett, co-founder of 21/64. “For years, I’ve heard skeptics say that Jewish innovation is a clever way of describing hip programs that are culturally-driven, but lacking in Jewish substance. Not true. The organizations in Slingshot 08/09 show us clearly that Jewish innovation consists of a profound mix of ritual, history, language and culture.”
Slingshot 08/09 will be unveiled at a launch event in Manhattan on September 18. A subset of the organizations featured in Slingshot will receive funding grants from The Slingshot Fund. Founded by Jews in their 20s and 30s, the Fund aims to provide a new model for raising and distributing grants by engaging young people in Jewish philanthropy who would otherwise not be involved.
“Reinvention and adaptation are the hallmarks of Judaism, and the Slingshot organizations are leading the charge in North America,” said Sharna Goldseker, co-founder and Director of 21/64. “By challenging convention and exploring new ways to bridge the past with the next generation, these nonprofits tell us that our tradition, history, and culture are still central to how we identify ourselves.”
Slingshot was created by a team of young funders as a guidebook to help funders of all ages diversify their giving portfolios with the most innovative and effective organizations and programs in North America. This guide contains information about each organization’s origin, mission, strategy, impact and budget, as well as details about its unique character. Now in its fourth edition, Slingshot has proven to be a catalyst for next generation funding and offers a telling snapshot of shifting trends in North America’s Jewish community. The book, published annually, is available in hard copy and as a free download at www.2164.net or at www.slingshotfund.org.
21/64 is a non-profit consulting division of The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies. Based in New York, it offers services to individuals, families, businesses, foundations and federations in times of generational transition – including consultation, resource materials, networks and communication vehicles. 21/64 specializes in a multigenerational approach to philanthropy. In this era, when there are four generations above the age of 21 around corporate and philanthropic tables, multiple generations must learn to understand each others’ “generational personalities,” motivational values, and visions. 21/64 facilitates the process of values clarification, strategic visioning and communicating to help multigenerational families define and achieve their individual and collective goals.