BYFI AVF selected for Slingshot: 2nd year in a row

(New York, NY) – October 18, 2011 – We are honored to announce that, for the second year in a row, the Bronfman Alumni Venture Fund (AVF) was named one of the nation’s 50 most innovative Jewish nonprofits in Slingshot '11-‘12, a resource guide for Jewish innovationSince 2005, Slingshot has become the definitive guide to identifying path-finding and trailblazing organizations grappling with concerns in Jewish life such as identity, community, and tradition. The Bronfman Alumni Venture Fund was chosen by a panel of 36 foundation professionals from across North America. This was the AVF’s second time being featured in Slingshot.
In order to be listed in Slingshot, organizations are selected from among hundreds of nominees across North America. Finalists are chosen based on their strength in four areas: innovation, impact, leadership, and organizational efficiency. 

Launched in 2005, the Bronfman Alumni Venture Fund is the first Jewish fellowship program to fundraise from their alumni for the sole purpose of re-distributing that funding to alumni-led projects. Through donations, the AVF has distributed over $100,000 in grants as well as valuable peer support to impactful projects led by over 100 alumni. This support inspires alumni to create new projects or improve existing organizations that promote pluralism, Jewish learning, engagement with Israel or social responsibility. The AVF features a unique peer-to-peer giving model that allows alumni to donate to and serve as advisers to projects that align with their values.
Becky Voorwinde, the fellowship’s co-Director says, “The Jewish community needs more do-it-yourself young Jews. The Alumni Venture Fund was created to inspire young alumni leaders to take action to enhance the Jewish community. Inclusion in Slingshot ‘11/’12 is a strong validation of the work we are doing.  We hope other networks will replicate the AVF model because we have found it is effective at inspiring alumni to make a difference in the wider community. Being featured in Slingshot for a second year in a row will allow others to learn more about the AVF’s unique peer-to-peer supported grantmaking model.”
Foundation professionals who evaluated the AVF’s application to Slingshot last year were excited to see “a model that engages alumni and changes the Jewish world at the same time.  While the Alumni Venture Fund is modest in size, the fact that it raises money from its closest stakeholders – not just funders – is refreshing.” Another evaluator adds, “this is a beacon to others who are searching for successful ways to mobilize, empower and connect alumni from any program.”
According to Will Schneider, the Director of Slingshot, “We had more applications than ever this year, with a wider variety of missions. In order to be selected by our evaluators, innovations and their impact had to resonate more than ever.”
Slingshot ’11/’12 was released on October 18, 2011. The community will meet on March 14 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.