UpStart founder says time is right to bring in new CEO

UpStart BayArea CEO Toby Rubin has announced plans to step down from the Jewish community incubator she founded nine years ago. She will stay on until a successor has been named, likely early next year.

Rubin, 60, said she made the decision, in part, because the S.F.-based nonprofit is poised to expand beyond the Bay Area. She noted that from the beginning — UpStart began as the Jewish Professionals Co-Op in 2006 — she expected the organization to reach the point where it is today, and that “would be the perfect time to shift leaders.”

Toby Rubin

UpStart, which provides a host of development assistance to Jewish nonprofits and social entrepreneurs, recently opened a Chicago office and will soon begin working with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles to undertake an incubator role there.

“We’re at an inflection point,” Rubin told J., “where we have demand coming for help from us from around the country and Israel. This is the time for the organization to have someone come in who is a builder of our scale-out strategy.”

Rubin touted UpStart’s track record during her tenure, which includes serving as accelerator for such noted Jewish community organizations as A Wider Bridge, G-dcast, Fair Trade Judaica, Moishe House, Urban Adamah and Wilderness Torah. Ten UpStart alumni were listed in the 2014-15 Slingshot Guide of the 50 most innovative Jewish projects in North America, she said.

Once a new CEO is found, Rubin will step away from UpStart; she doesn’t plan to retire, though she intends to work fewer hours and spend more time with family. She told J. she loved working with the innovators nurtured by UpStart and that she will miss the organization’s staff and board.

“At this point in my life, I’m very excited to see a new team build [UpStart] into what we envisioned,” she said. “It has been such an honor to create a space where amazing, creative people know they have a support system designed to give them the best chance of succeeding.”

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.