Editorial: Slingshot list reverberates with energy, passion and purpose

Given the Bay Area’s penchant for innovation, it’s no surprise that our region accounted for nearly 20 percent of the Slingshot Fund’s just-released list of the most cutting-edge and inspirational Jewish nonprofits in North America.

Many of the superb organizations named are familiar to readers of j. They include the Mission District’s Shabbat community, The Kitchen; Wilderness Torah, which promotes Earth-based Judaism; Jewish environmental advocate Hazon; Urban Adamah, Berkeley’s urban farm; Jewish animation project G-dcast; domestic violence organization Shalom Bayit; The Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation; Moishe House; A Wider Bridge, which fosters links between LBGT communities in the United States and Israel; and Kevah, the Berkeley-based organizer of Torah study groups.

In a section devoted to organizations that aid the disabled, Friendship Circle International, a Chabad-led program that pairs Jewish teens with young special needs kids, and INCLUDE North Peninsula, a collaboration between Jewish LearningWorks and the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation to spur inclusion in Jewish institutions, were singled out for recognition.

Others names on the Slingshot list may be less familiar, among them the Jewish New Teacher Project out of Santa Cruz, and Amir, a food justice organization based in San Francisco. You can read more about these local organizations in our story on page 9.

The annual Slingshot guide matters.

Launched in 2004 by a group of young Jewish philanthropists interested in empowering next-generation givers like themselves, Slingshot has become a major funding source for innovative organizations like those mentioned above. The Slingshot Guide, published annually since 2005, shines a bright light on next-generation organizations that will shape the conversation in the Jewish community in the years ahead.

We congratulate all these local groups on making Slingshot’s list this year. Many organizations are able to leverage this honor to boost their fundraising efforts, as described in our story on page 10.

But beyond the potential financial benefit, being listed in Slingshot gives new Jewish organizations a kind of seal of approval, setting them up as examples for other would-be activists and entrepreneurs to learn from and even emulate. All in all, the project represents the best of new Jewish energy: next-gen philanthropists honoring their nonprofit peers for best practices in Jewish innovation aimed at building and strengthening Jewish life in this country and around the world.