Slingshot: Covenant Grant Recipients Are Among Most Pioneering And Innovative Jewish Organizations

The seventh issue of the annual guide, just issued by the Slingshot Fund, names 50 organizations, all chosen on the strength of innovation, impact, leadership and organizational efficiency.

The Covenant Foundation grantees included in Slingshot’s annual list of 50 pioneering Jewish organizations:

  • Hidden Sparks in New York works with Jewish day school educators to equip them with tools and strategies to effectively teach students with learning differences. The organization received a 2010 grant from The Covenant Foundation to create and enhance professional development curricula and programming for Jewish educators and to expand to new cities.
  • Kayam Farm at the Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center in Reisterstown, MD, is a model Jewish educational farm outside of Baltimore, showcasing Jewish-based environmentalism and agriculture to thousands of volunteers and visitors each year. A 2010 grant from The Covenant Foundation supports the Kayam Jewish Gardening Collective, a diverse group of Jewish institutions in the Baltimore area creating educational gardens as venues in which to teach Jewish environmental values and perspectives.
  • Keshet in Jamaica Plain, MA, advocates for GLBT inclusiveness by local Jewish communities and national Jewish institutions and provides resources for Jewish GLBT education. The organization received a 2009 grant to help provide resources, training and technical assistance to an array of Jewish groups to create safe and inclusive Jewish educational institutions.
  • Matan in White Plains, NY, works to strengthen the ability of Jewish institutions to support and sustain educational programs for Jewish children with special needs. It received a 2001 grant from The Covenant Foundation for special education programs.
  • Moving Traditions in Jenkintown, PA, helps students in grades 6 through 12 to become more self-assured in their personal and Jewish selves. Grants in 2002 and 2006 from The Covenant Foundation supported Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing, a program enabling Jewish girls to use Jewish teachings to make positive choices. Another grant in 2010 is supporting the development and launch of the Campaign for Jewish Boys, an initiative to help formal and informal Jewish educators better reach, serve and teach teenage boys.
  • PresenTense Group in Jerusalem encourages and supports entrepreneurial projects in the Jewish sector, and helps equip those with innovative ideas to develop them with a Jewish perspective. For PresenTense’s summer Institute in 2009, The Covenant Foundation sponsored one participant developing an online Jewish educational resource center.
  • Repair the World in New York works to grow the number of Jews participating in service projects by increasing the quality and quantity of service opportunities within and beyond the Jewish community. Repair the World received a 2010 grant from The Covenant Foundation to create a training program for Jewish service learning educators, strengthening the effectiveness of Jewish service learning curricula and programming.
  • Shalom Sesame in New York brings media-rich educational content about Judaism and Israel to a media-savvy young generation of children. The organization received a 2008 Covenant Foundation grant to develop a website to engage families with young children learning about Jewish holidays, the Hebrew language and Israel through interactive, digital means integrating with the Shalom Sesame DVD series.
  • Uri L’Tzedek in New York works to inspire the Orthodox community to be active participants in the Jewish social justice movement. A 2009 grant from The Covenant Foundation was directed at developing the Uri L’Tzedek University Fellowship to support, educate and empower student activists to assume roles in Orthodox communal leadership and create communities of change dedicated to social action in educational settings.
  • Wilderness Torah in Berkeley, CA, offers an environmental route for Jews unconnected to traditional observance or educational settings. A 2010 Covenant Foundation grant is supporting development of the B’nai Mitzvah Nature-Mentoring Rite of Passage Program, an initiative serving Jewish youth ages 11 to 13 through experiential educational and personal development activities tying Jewish identity to the environment.

In a new category of recognition this year, 10 Jewish organizations are named as “standard bearers” for continuing to attain Slingshot’s core criteria over time. Covenant Foundation grantees included in this category:

  • The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, MS, works to preserve the tradition of Judaism throughout the American South and build a dynamic Jewish future there. The Covenant Foundation awarded the Institute a 2004 grant to support its itinerant education program.
  • Hazon in New York works to create a healthy and sustainable Jewish community through environmentalism, education and advocacy. The organization received a grant from The Covenant Foundation in 2007 in support of the Jewish education curriculum for the Jewish Food Project. Hazon also received a 2010 grant to develop Home for Dinner, a synagogue-driven, food-based initiative to promote, support and enhance Jewish family life.
  • IKAR in Los Angeles is a Jewish spiritual community emphasizing social justice. The Covenant Foundation awarded the organization a 2007 grant to support its House Party Outreach Project.
  • Mayyim Hayyim Living Waters Community Mikveh and Family Education Center in Newton, MA, works to reclaim and reinvent the mikveh for contemporary spiritual use. It received a 2007 Covenant Foundation grant for the Mikveh Outreach Initiative to provide information, resources and consultations to communities across the U.S.
  • Mechon Hadar in New York is dedicated to revitalizing Jewish community life among young Jews. The Covenant Foundation awarded a 2008 grant to the organization to expand Yeshivat Hadar, the organization’s Jewish study, prayer and social action program for Jews in their 20s and 30s, and create a fellowship program for past participants to empower them to be leaders in Jewish communities.

“Slingshot’s endorsement of so many of our past and present grantees only highlights that they are generators of ideas of impact,” said Harlene Winnick Appelman, the Foundation’s executive director. “We are immensely proud to support them.”

Slingshot was created to help funders diversify their portfolios and identify the most cutting-edge organizations on the Jewish communal landscape. The guide contains information about each organization’s origin, mission, strategy, impact and budget, as well as details about its unique character.

The full list is viewable at