4 Jewish innovation organizations consolidating
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4 Jewish innovation organizations consolidating

(JTA) — Four Jewish organizations will combine to form a single organization to be a central resource for Jewish innovation.

UpStart, Bikkurim, Joshua Venture Group and U.S. based-programs of PresenTense announced Thursday that they will consolidate to form one entity. The new entity, to be called UpStart, will provide services and resources to entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and communities.

The organizations now provide support services for innovators and groups in the Jewish community seeking new ways of thinking.

“Jewish life has evolved in incredibly positive ways due in part to the success of our organizations, our program alumni, and our visionary partners,” says Aaron Katler, CEO of UpStart, said in a statement. “We come together now out of a shared commitment to build on that success and to expand our capacity to serve an evolving field. Our vision is to provide innovators and organizations at nearly every stage with the services and resources they need to succeed.”

UpStart will work to create a more robust platform to empower innovators and institutions to take risks, to develop creative engagement strategies, and to maximize the potential of their community-changing ideas, the statement said.

The organizations first worked together on The Collaboratory, the largest gathering of Jewish innovators in the United States. With support from the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, the executive directors of the organizations then gathered for a retreat two years ago to learn more about each other’s programs.

“The consolidation is a very positive development for the entire Jewish community,” said Jon Woocher, senior fellow at the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah. “These organizations did their homework to determine the highest-impact opportunities for investing in Jewish innovation. As one organization, they can develop more coordinated and collaborative activities, while at the same time resourcing more programs, organizations, and leaders.”

During the transition period, each organization will continue to operate its own programs and support the cohorts that are currently underway. The UpStart board of directors will be comprised of representatives from each organization.