Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Samuel Bronfman Foundation Hosts Seminar for JCS Students

On Wednesday, October 14, ten students from the Jewish Communal Service program attended a unique seminar on startups, innovation and social entrepreneurship in the Jewish community, hosted by the Samuel Bronfman Foundation and facilitated by a panel of experts in startups, innovations, social entrepreneurship and new giving in the Jewish community.

Students were joined by Dean Sheldon Gelman, Dr. Saul Andron, and Professor Lynn Levy, who teach in the Jewish Communal program, and board member, Joel Daner.

Speakers highlighted the growth of an array of small Jewish startups including innovative prayer and spirituality groups, cutting-edge cultural initiatives, and creative educational approaches.

Shawn Landres, Co-founder and CEO of Jumpstart, a Los Angeles based think tank, began the evening with a presentation called The Innovation Ecosystem: Emergence of a New Jewish Landscape (2009) a ground breaking report on grassroots Jewish philanthropic innovation, metrics for success, and partnerships to reduce cost.

Dana Raucher, Executive Director of the Samuel Bronfman Foundation, spoke about the foundation’s position on innovation in Jewish life and the strengthening of the Jewish not-for-profit sector. She presented a case example of the Foundation's funding of an innovative program initiative.

The final presentation of the evening was given by Maya Bernstein, Director of Education and Leadership Initiatives at Upstart Bay Area in San Francisco, California. Ms. Bernstein noted that the majority of Jews in the Bay area are not affiliated with traditional Jewish organizations like synagogues or JCCs. Young Jews in particular are seeking new, more intimate and creative ways to connect with different aspects of Jewish life. Her startup is providing technical assistance to the growing number of startup groups which have emerged in the San Francisco Bay area.

Thanks to guest editor, block student David English!

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