The Pearlstone Center Named One of North America’s Most Innovative Jewish Nonprofits
The Pearlstone Center has been named one of the nation’s 50 most innovative Jewish nonprofits in Slingshot ’12-‘13, a resource guide for Jewish innovation. The Pearlstone Center was selected for this list because of its unique approach to outdoor environmental education through its community-oriented farm.
Slingshot organizations grapple with concerns in Jewish life such as identity, community, social justice and tradition, each with different missions, perspectives and strategies. The Slingshot resource guide is distributed to 7,500 funders, foundation professionals, and organizational leaders annually, in addition to tens of thousands of online downloads. Readers use Slingshot to identify the most inspiring and trail blazing organizations, projects, and programs in the North American Jewish community today. Since its inception, Slingshot has highlighted 173 innovative Jewish organizations in North America.
Slingshot organizations are selected from among hundreds of nominees based on their strength in four areas: innovation, impact, leadership, and organizational efficiency. The Pearlstone Center was chosen for the second time this year by an independent panel of 48 foundation professionals from across North America.
The Pearlstone Center ignites Jewish passion. “Whether an individual or group comes to Pearlstone for an immersive retreat…or a program on the farm, their experience ignites a passion and a personal transformation not found in other Jewish or secular experiences,” attests Ilene Vogelstein, Pearlstone Board President. She continues, “It may be one of the few places where the diversity of our community comes together and lives in harmony.” Through retreat experiences, educational programs, and its unique farm-based outdoor classroom, the Pearlstone Center — an agency of THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore — is able to provide meaningful immersive experiences that impact individuals, families, and organizations in the Jewish community and contribute toward a reawakening of a vibrant Jewish life.
According to Jakir Manela, Executive Director, the Pearlstone Center is committed to engaging the Baltimore community’s next generation of Jews in relevant and meaningful ways. “Inclusion in the Slingshot Guide for a second year in a row is a strong validation for the work we are doing,” says Manela. “Slingshot provides us with national exposure, which is extremely valuable as we work to grow our capacity and take our programming to the next level.”
According to Julie Finkelstein, Program Director of Slingshot, “Slingshot is a celebration of those Jewish organizations and projects successfully breathing new energy into Jewish life. The guide highlights both newly formed organizations and innovative projects happening at established Jewish institutions, all making an impact by meeting the changing needs of today’s Jewish community. This year, we received more applications than ever before, making the evaluation and selection process highly competitive.”
Inspired six years ago by Slingshot, a group of next-generation philanthropists launched the Slingshot Fund, a collective giving mechanism to support innovative Jewish life. In just six cycles, 58 members of the Slingshot Fund have contributed more than $2.1 million to innovative Jewish organizations.
Sarah Gelman Rueven, Slingshot Board member, shared, “The Slingshot Guide promotes organizations that are pushing the boundaries and negotiating what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century, while at the same time, promoting transparent business practices and strong leadership. The Slingshot guide is important because by supporting Jewish innovation, we are really investing in the continuity of the Jewish people.”
Slingshot ’12-’13 was released on November 2, 2012. The community will meet on May 6th in New York City at the annual Slingshot Day, where over 250 not-for-profit leaders, foundation professionals, and funders of all ages will engage in candid conversations about philanthropy and innovation in the Jewish community.
Slingshot was created by a team of young funders as a guidebook to help funders of all ages diversify their giving portfolios with the most innovative and effective organizations and programs in North America. This guide contains information about each organization’s origin, mission, strategy, impact and budget, as well as details about its unique character. Now in its eighth edition, Slingshot has proven to be a catalyst for next generation funding and offers a telling snapshot of shifting trends in North America's Jewish community. The book, published annually, is available for free in hard copy and as a download at www.slingshotfund.org.