New York, June 27, 2022 – Medical school, law school and other professional programs offer paths to lucrative careers. But due to their time-consuming and often expensive nature, aren’t typically conducive to simultaneously starting a family.
A year-old organization to help young adults avoid having to make these painful tradeoffs, Kochvei HaShamayim, is among five recipients of the Orthodox Union’s Impact Accelerator awards. Each of the awardees aims to provide social good for the Orthodox community on a scalable platform.
The five organizations were chosen from a field of 71 applicants; each will receive a $10,000 grant to facilitate further growth. In addition to education, recipient organizations are focused on community health, Jewish outdoor adventure and personal growth based on religious learning.
“We’re very pleased that the organizations we chose in this this round of the Impact Accelerator focus on a wide variety of needs in the Jewish community as well as serve a range of ages – from children and teens to college students and adults. We hope that by supporting and working with these innovative groups, we will make a lasting impact on Klal Yisroel,” said Impact Accelerator Chairman Ezra Friedberg.
The winners include:
Kochvei HaShamayim, based in Brookline, Mass., champions the values of family, community, and education by supporting young Jewish couples who must otherwise choose between family life or continuing their education.
After the School Bell, based in North Woodmere, N.Y., matches volunteer high school students with those in elementary school who need extra academic support.
Jewish Orthodox Women’s Medical Association (JOWMA), based in New York City, provides free health education to women in the Orthodox community and acts as a network of current and future Jewish female physician leaders.
Foundations Curriculum, based in Cedarhurst, NY, is a curriculum to help teachers guide students to self-discovery and reach their spiritual potential, building Jewish identity based on Torah and laws for Jewish women.
Lech Lecha, based in Worcester, Mass. emphasizes experiencing Judaism through nature. The group organizes outdoor adventures and wilderness journeys for participants to grow strong connections with G-d.
“There’s a huge flow of innovation in our world. We wanted to channel that energy into our communal world as well,” said Jenna Beltser, Impact Accelerator’s founding director. “There are so many organizations out there that are doing new and interesting things. They don’t have the tools that they need to grow and make an impact. This is a way to leverage all the tools and resources the OU provides.”
All five OU Impact Accelerator recipients went through a rigorous Silicon Valley-style selection process that included individual applicant interviews, with final choices made by a 12-person selection committee of community lay leaders. Proposals are peer reviewed, with specific consideration given to awardees that are innovative, new, scalable on a national level, and whether they’re servicing unmet Orthodox communal needs and show evidence of tangible progress and plans for further growth.
For more information, or to apply for Impact Accelerator grants, visit: https://www.ou.org/accelerator/apply
The Orthodox Union launched the OU Impact Accelerator in 2018 to support entrepreneurial ventures addressing Orthodox Jewish communal challenges. The program offers mentorship-based growth and early-stage funding for Jewish nonprofit entrepreneurs with the next groundbreaking ideas. Impact Accelerator partners with nonprofit entrepreneurs and successful professionals and makes use of OU resources to work on the most impactful projects and share our growing knowledge base.
Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union, (OU), serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.