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BBYO Panim Institute Selected for Third Consecutive “Slingshot” Award

November 5, 2012

Sixth Annual “Slingshot” Guidebook Names 50 Most Innovative Jewish Nonprofits in America

For the third consecutive year, the BBYO Panim Institute has been honored as one of the nation’s 50 most innovative Jewish nonprofits. Slingshot ’12-’13, a resource guide for Jewish innovation, chose Panim for this list once again because it “enables thousands of Jewish teenagers to create change via Jewish platforms, forever influencing their understandings of the values of Jewish life.”

Slingshot organizations grapple with concerns in Jewish life such as identity, community, social justice and tradition, each with different missions, perspectives and strategies. In order to be listed in Slingshot, organizations are selected from among hundreds of nominees. Panim was chosen by an independent panel of 48 foundation professionals from across North America based on their strength in four areas: innovation, impact, leadership, and organizational efficiency.

A three-time winner since joining BBYO in 2009, Panim has been addressing teens’ interest in serving and improving their communities in sophisticated ways. Through the BBYO platform, Panim has been able to engage, inspire, and train more than 30,000 teens and 1000 Jewish professionals and educators.

“We are thrilled to be included in this collection of inspiring organizations for the third year in a row. We pride ourselves on not only responding to teens’ wants and needs, but by also providing them the tools to lead their peers today,” said Rachel Meytin, director of the BBYO Panim Institute.

This past year, among a variety of local efforts centered on service and advocacy training, Panim provided the curriculum and Jewish values framing for Stand Up For Each Other: A Campaign for Respect and Inclusion (SUFEO). This campaign was spearheaded in communities across North America by BBYO’s teen leaders and was a direct response to the concerns of today’s teens. SUFEO has been the inspiration for new community based and international programs, curriculum and change across the international community of Jewish teens.

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.”

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 ’12-’13 was released on November 5, 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.

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