Is Slingshot Guide a Rainmaker for Jewish Non-Profits — Or Waste of Time?

Groups Leverage List for Fundraising as Others Grumble

Like David: Eden Village Camp officials say inclusion in the Slingshot guide is an important stamp of approval for prospective parents. Others are less sure about the possible benefits.
ALEXIS SILVER
Like David: Eden Village Camp officials say inclusion in the Slingshot guide is an important stamp of approval for prospective parents. Others are less sure about the possible benefits.

By Julie Weiner

Published October 24, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(JTA) — The biblical David used a slingshot to kill Goliath, thus earning the attention of King Saul.

Today, Jewish organizations are trying to use Slingshot, an annual guide of the 50 “most innovative organizations and projects,” to capture the attention of donors. The ninth installment of the guide was released Thursday.

Launched in 2005 by a group of donors in their 20s and 30s, the guide evaluates North American Jewish organizations based on “their innovative approach, the impact they have in their work, the leadership they have in their sector, and their effectiveness at achieving results.”

Inclusion in Slingshot offers “a stamp of recognition,” said Vivian Stadlin, co-director of Eden Village Camp, a 4-year-old overnight camp focused on environmental sustainability that has appeared in Slingshot for several consecutive years.

“Even if a prospective parent doesn’t know about Slingshot, to be able to say we appear in the Slingshot list of 50 most innovative Jewish groups puts people at ease,” she added. “It gives the sense that they’re climbing aboard a winning ship.”

Ed Case, CEO of InterfaithFamily, a website offering resources for interfaith families and one of the standard bearers, said making the Slingshot list offers a “heksher,” or seal of approval, “especially for new organizations getting started.”

Whether Slingshot inclusion has a financial benefit is an open question. Guide inclusion does not come with any monetary reward, although those that make the list are eligible to receive grants through the Slingshot Fund. Case said his group has received grants from small foundations that discovered it through Slingshot.

Julie Finkelstein, Slingshot’s program director, said many organizations “leverage it to receive funding from other sources.”

Sarah Lefton, executive director and producer of G-dcast, a new media production company that has been in Slingshot for several consecutive years, praised the guide, particularly the openness of its organizers to feedback.

However, several professionals say the application process is burdensome, the selection process overly subjective and the payoff not always clear.

A professional with an organization featured multiple times in Slingshot who did not want to be seen publicly criticizing the group said she has heard “a lot of grousing about it from Jewish organizations.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.