Project Accelerate has accepted Jewish Kids Groups into its 2017-19 cohort to help the alternative Jewish supplementary education program enter a new stage of growth.
Beginning this winter, JKG lay and professional leaders are going through organizational assessments, training and consulting.
“A decade after the emergence of the Jewish innovation sector, it is clear that post-startup organizations require a specific kind of support to grow their impact and figure out how to scale,” JKG founder and Executive Director Ana Robbins said.
JKG has benefited from accelerators at earlier stages, going through the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s ProtéJ program in 2012-13 and the San Francisco-based UpStart Accelerator from 2015 to 2017.
While programs such as UpStart help new programs get off the ground, Project Accelerate launched in 2015 to help innovative organizations that have advanced past the startup stage.
“Now that Jewish Kids Groups has opened a fifth location in Atlanta, we have identified new opportunities and challenges associated with replication and scaling. I’m certain that JKG will benefit from Project Accelerate and am honored to learn with such a distinguished group of leaders and organizations,” Robbins said.
Rabbi David Teutsch is mentoring Robbins in Project Accelerate. He leads the Center for Jewish Ethics at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia and has served as the seminary’s president.
To be a “Jewish leader,” rather than just the leader of a Jewish organization or a leader who happens to be Jewish, “means to act like a mensch,” Rabbi Teutsch said. “It means you must guide by Jewish virtues and values, including integrity, courage, humility, gentleness and empathy.”
Joining JKG in the Project Accelerate cohort are Keshet, an LGBT advocacy group; Wilderness Torah, which celebrates Earth-based traditions of Judaism; Encounter, a nonpartisan approach to educating Jewish leadership about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the Pearlstone Retreat Center, a farm and retreat center offering Jewish outdoor education in Maryland; and 11 other organizations.