Eighteen Washington-area Jewish organizations are being touted as models of innovation in a philanthropy guide that was released on Monday.
Slingshot, which issues an annual national resource guide aimed at funders, released its first Washington, D.C., edition.
Launched in 2005 by a group of donors in their 20s and 30s, the Slingshot guide evaluates North American Jewish organizations based on “their innovative approach, the impact they have in their work, the leadership they have in their sector, and their effectiveness at achieving results.”
Washington does not have a reputation as an innovative town, so a local guide was overdue, said Will Schneider, executive director of the Slingshot Fund.
“There are a lot of organizations [in Washington]. There’s a lot happening. And there are a lot of funders who don’t know about it,” he said. “D.C. was screaming, ‘We’re ready for it.’ ”
Slingshot evaluators pored over applications from 45 local organization to make their selections, Schneider said.
Schneider said there are two target audiences for the guide: funders looking for programs to support and “people who are not involved in the Jewish community but who would be if they knew about these projects.”
JDC Entwine is one. The young leadership program of the venerable American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee appealed to the evaluators because JDC was able “to figure a way to let young people access the work of the organization.”
Many veteran Jewish organizations assign young members to “cocktail planning,” Schneider said. “A lot of organizations should be mimicking Entwine’s feeling, if not the program itself.”
Another program, NEXT DC’s Reverse Mifgash, appealed to Slingshot for its community-building potential. Sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, it brings Israelis to the capital for a reverse Birthright. The program allows Birthright alumni to interact with the Israelis they met during their own trip to Israel.
“Reverse Mifgash is going to bring people to the table who wouldn’t otherwise be there,” Schneider said.
Matan, which tackles educating Jewish children with disabilities, is not about Jewish identity building, he said. “It’s a core need.”
The New York-based organization runs a program at Shaare Torah in Gaithersburg. Matan advocates for Jewish students with special needs and provides teacher training. The organization’s philosophy is that special needs education should be a community responsibility, not just that of the parents of children with disabilities.
The organizations in the Slingshot guide are the ones that solve problems, Schneider said.
In addition to the Washington edition, Slingshot this week published a national guide, a guide for the Midwest and a supplement on women and girls. The guides are funded by the Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies.
Slingshot’s Washington guide includes:
2239 (Washington Hebrew Congregation)
AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps
BBYO Northern Region East: DC Council
Gather the Jews (Hillel, George Washington University)
GLOE – Kurlander Program for GLBT Outreach & Engagement (Washington DC Jewish Community Center)
Greater Washington Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse
Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington @ Adas Israel
Jews United for Justice
Machane TBA L’mata Program (Temple Beth Ami)
Maryland Hillel Fellowships
MoEd: A Jewish Afterschool Community
NEXT DC’s Reverse Mifgash (Jewish Federation of Greater Washington)
NOVA Tribe Series: A Project of NVHC
Sixth & I Historic Synagogue