ZABS’ Place Selected to Join Jewish Community’s Leading Accelerator of Innovative Social Ventures

By Categories: In the Media

June 6, 2016 | Charlotte Jewish News
Zabs_costumesZABS Place – a North Carolina-based organization – is one of nine selected by UpStart Accelerator – the Jewish community’s leading engine behind the success of innovative, early-stage organizations. Selected from the Accelerator’s largest applicant pool ever (66 from across the world), ZABS Place will join a cohort of eight other organizations that are opening up new access points to Jewish life.
Since 2006, the UpStart Accelerator has served as a launch pad for over thirty Jewish organizations, providing them with the training, network, and funding needed to transform vision and passion into game-changing Jewish social ventures. Current organizations and national alumni include BimBam (formerly Godcast), Moishe House, Jewish Kids Groups, Jewish Plays Project, and Urban Adamah.
“The Jewish community is increasingly diverse and hungry for unique and personal ways to connect to Jewish life,” says Aaron Katler, CEO of UpStart. This Accelerator cohort is tapping into exactly this desire, by creating new points of connection to Jewish wisdom, community, and identity. We look forward to partnering with these bold innovators to take their work to the next level.”
Below is the full list of this year’s cohorts, who will join the thirty-five organizations and alum already in the UpStart Accelerator network:
* 30 Years After (Los Angeles) – Promotes the participation of Iranian-American Jews in political, civic, and Jewish life.
* At The Well (Bay Area) – Supports young professional Jewish women to live spiritually connected to their bodies and to feel empowered to be fully themselves.
* JCC Maccabi Sports Camp (Bay Area) – Hosts an overnight Jewish sports camp that combines sports and camp activities with core Jewish values.
* Libenu Foundation (Chicago) – Provides adults with developmental disabilities the opportunity to live independent, meaningful lives as respected members of the Jewish community.
* Makom (Chicago) – Helps millennials fill the emotional, spiritual, and social space that they wish to find from their Judaism but haven’t been able to find just yet.
* Mishpucha (New York) – Offers culturally authentic, immersive experiences for Russian-speaking American Jews that foster community building, identity exploration, and Jewish education.
* Pushing the Envelope Farm (Chicago) – Provides opportunities for hands-on, farm-based exploration of Jewish agricultural traditions, ecological design, and social justice.
* Yachad: The Jewish Educational Platform for Teens in Minneapolis – Engages, inspires, and educates teens to become future leaders who possess confidence, enthusiasm, and curiosity about Jewish life.
* ZABS Place (Charlotte) – Provides training and work experiences to young adults with special needs to help reveal their unique potential, talents, and skills.
“The UpStart Accelerator was a formative experience during the early stages of BimBam,” says Sarah Lefton, Founder and Director of BimBam (formerly Godcast), an alum of the Accelerator. “We’re proud to welcome such an exciting cohort of organizations into the UpStart network, and we can’t wait to witness their growth over the coming years.”
More information can be found at
About UpStart: UpStart partners with innovators to redesign the experience and expression of Jewish life. Over the last nine years, UpStart has accelerated the success of 35 early-stage organizations, unleashed the innovative capacity of dozens of established Jewish organizations, and trained hundreds of leaders in its unique blend of entrepreneurial tools and Jewish wisdom.

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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