UpStart’s Response to COVID-19

For years, Jewish social entrepreneurs and their ventures have been fueling a renaissance in Jewish life. From creative afterschool programs to chapters of Muslim and Jewish women fighting hate together, the 100+ organizations in the UpStart Venture Network have been on the front lines of making our community more just, vibrant, and inclusive. These ventures are sometimes the only connection point to Jewish life for individuals seeking alternatives to more traditional offerings.

These ventures currently face unprecedented challenges as they navigate the new realities of lost revenue and financial uncertainty. We’re at risk of not just losing these ventures, but the incredible progress they’ve made for Jewish life. 

UpStart is building their resiliency so they can not just survive the days ahead, but thrive into the future. 

Our response


We launched the Jewish Innovator Payroll Relief Fund to protect these leaders’ employment and health care coverage for 90 days, until we learn more about the potential impact of the financial crisis. This fund will create bandwidth for ventures to plan and forecast for the future while keeping their workforces whole.


  • Urgent resiliency training and coaching: webinars and expanded access to experts through our Ask UpStart platform on topics like cash flow management and future forecasting
  • Peer support and learning: facilitated community conversations and dedicated Slack workspaces for our network to support each other and share resources
  • Jewish learning with UpStart network member Hadar on leveraging our rich textual tradition to provide insight and sustenance
  • Tech support: 1:1 tech strategy sessions and training on how to best use technology to achieve their mission virtually

Join us in supporting these vital ventures

We’re grateful to funders on the UpStart Philanthropic Advisory Council, several generous donors, and UpStart Board members who have already contributed more than $600,000 toward our $1.25M goal. In week one, we distributed the first round of funding to seven of the most needy organizations with a plan to continue distributions through May 1, 2020. 100% of all donations will go to the Jewish Innovator Payroll Relief Fund.

We welcome your contribution, no matter how big or small, in helping these pioneering ventures thrive.

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Or, reach out to UpStart’s Chief Development Officer, Stacye Zeisler or Chief Executive Officer, Aaron Katler.

UpStart is a 501(c)3 organization. All contributions are tax-deductible.

Our purpose is to enable entrepreneurs to bring bold Jewish ideas to light. We help them reach Up to people in new ways that are meaningful, more inclusive, and create a brighter future for our Jewish community and the world we share.

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