Promising Nonprofits Promote Affordability and Economic Empowerment, Strategic OU Priorities
OU Impact Accelerator, a division of the Orthodox Union that advances promising Jewish nonprofits through education, mentorship and an early stage grant, is excited to announce its fifth cohort of innovative leaders committed to transforming the North American Jewish communal landscape in groundbreaking ways.
Cohort Five’s six nonprofits were chosen among over 65 applicants. The competitive selection process began in March and included an online application, interviews and a final pitch night in front of the OU’s lay and professional leadership.
Over the next several months, the cohort will network and learn at three in-person summits and online workshops, and benefit from mentorship, coaching and opportunities to collaborate and hone various skills. The goal is to arm the already passionate social entrepreneurs with tangible knowledge and skills to run their nonprofits efficiently and sustainably.
Launched in 2018, OU Impact Accelerator partners with nonprofit entrepreneurs, professionals and lay leaders from both the OU and abroad to advance impactful projects and share its growing knowledge base. Since its inception, Impact Accelerator has supported Jewish startups tackling a myriad of community concerns, including Jewish education, mental health resources and more.
This year, OU Impact Accelerator is focusing on ventures addressing economic empowerment and affordability, key issues in the Jewish community that are among the OU’s top strategic priorities.
“One primary goal of economic empowerment is to arm people with the knowledge and tools to be able to best support themselves and their families,” says OU Impact Accelerator Director Tamar Frydman. This can be achieved, she says, via financial guidance and programs that teach people how to budget, evaluate their spending habits, and invest wisely, for example and to help the community have more affordable supportive services.
“When we think about affordability in our community, people often think about ways to lower the expense of Jewish Day Schools,” Frydman notes. “Those are very important issues to tackle. And there are many other ways we can think about economic empowerment and affordability in more broad strokes.”
Frydman says the OU accords tremendous value to addressing Jewish communal challenges in new and innovative ways and plays a pivotal role in effecting change by empowering social entrepreneurs in the community and enhancing the level of nonprofit excellence.
OU Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rabbi Dr. Josh Joseph is eager to see the startups’ growth and development in the coming months.
“We are thrilled to welcome our newest members of Cohort Five who are addressing one of our community’s most pressing issues, that of economic empowerment and affordability,” says Joseph. “Supported by the OU Impact Accelerator’s exceptional guidance and resources, we look forward to seeing the ventures make waves and institute real change.”
OU Impact Accelerator congratulates the following social entrepreneurs upon their acceptance to Cohort Five:
Founded in 2023 by Rivky Rothenberg and Tsippi Gross, Ashir offers financial literacy programming, training and education for the Jewish community, regardless of individuals’ abilities to pay for services. Ashir focuses on empowering Jewish women, young professionals, couples and next-generation parents with financial know-how, and teaches a combination of mindset and skill set to encourage a cultural shift towards financial peace. Ashir’s vision is that every Jewish family can be smart with money and make sound financial decisions based on healthy values.
Brooklyn, New York
Launched in 2020 by Executive Director Mindy Sabel, Heshy Friedman, and Yitty Gutner, Code Kevudah enables women to gain valuable technology skills in a dignified and culturally-sensitive atmosphere. Participants are empowered to use software development and data science to increase their earning potential by bringing immense value to their organizations. Code Kevudah lowers the entry barrier to the tech field by offering low cost and convenient coding clubs, courses and mentorship.
Created in 2021 by Baruch Niebloom, frum.finance strives to elevate financial literacy while fostering financial independence in the frum community via resources, education and support in key areas including budgeting, debt management, retirement planning and investing. Through personalized guidance, an online community, and a suite of cutting-edge software tools, frum.finance empowers people to make informed financial decisions and achieve long term financial success.
Woodmere, New York
Launched in 2020 by Rabbi Eli Portal, Imo Anochi promotes wellness, fosters resilience, and empowers Jewish community members facing all types of adversity to lead fulfilling lives. Personalized mentorship, monthly support groups, educational programs, and a state-of-the-art website are available to everyone regardless of their financial circumstances.
Valley Stream, New York
Created in 2021 by Yaakov Langer, Living Lchaim’s mission is to provide support and resources that enable individuals to navigate their mental and financial challenges effectively, while furthering a deeper connection to their Jewish heritage and spirituality. Through platforms including YouTube, podcasts, the Living Lchaim website and live events, the organization curates and disseminates educational and engaging content that enhances participants’ understanding and personal growth.
Ray of Hope
Monsey, New York
Led by Zeldy Broyde and David Kohn, Ray of Hope was launched in 2019 to build a safe and supportive community of peers, families, and professionals that empowers Jewish men and women to heal from the trauma of sexual abuse, via professionally-facilitated support groups and other programming.