Program to support Jewish ‘post-startups’

May 7, 2014


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NEW YORK (JTA) — A New York-based program focused on incubating startup Jewish organizations is expanding to assist some “post-startups.”

Bikkurim, which was founded in 2000, announced Wednesday that it has started a new program called Atid Hazak (Strong Future) to enable promising Jewish groups launched in the past two decades to “increase their strength, stability and impact,” according to a news release. The program is awarding $255,000 in funding and organizational assistance to both Keshet, a Jewish gay advocacy group, and Footsteps, a group assisting Jews who are leaving the haredi Orthodox community.

The new effort comes in response to a 2012 study published by Bikkurim, Wellspring Consulting and six partner organizations that found that the Jewish community lacked a coordinated mechanism for supporting post-startups — groups in need of what is often referred to as second-stage or mezzanine funding.

“Keshet and Footsteps have proven that there is overwhelming demand for what they have to offer, but their infrastructure has not kept pace with their rapid organizational growth,” said Andrea Fram Plotkin, co-chairwoman of Bikkurim’s admissions committee. “We are making investments to build the internal scaffolding so that these organizations will endure and multiply their impact over time.”

Keshet, founded 18 years ago, has a budget of almost $2 million and offices in three cities. Footsteps, founded 10 years ago, has a budget of under $1 million and operates primarily in the New York metropolitan area.