Breaking News: JVG Announces Merger with Jewish Innovation Partners

Today we announced that Bikkurim, Joshua Venture Group, and UpStart are consolidating into a single organization – UpStart – to serve as the central resource for Jewish innovation. The newly envisioned UpStart will also include the current U.S.-based programs of PresenTense. You can see the official announcement here.

This consolidation arose out of a shared vision for the field of Jewish innovation. Over the last four years, our organizations have worked closely together on The Collaboratory, jointly studied changes in our field, and analyzed many options for increasing our collective impact. Our goal now is to leverage the best of each organization to house all innovation resources under one roof and to create a more robust platform that provides innovators and organizations at nearly every stage with the services they need.

We have exciting plans, and below is a snapshot of some of them:

  • Expansion of programs to nurture innovation at every stage of organizational life;
  • Investment in field-based research and evaluation of impact;
  • Development of a streamlined Jewish innovation toolkit and methodology; and
  • Leveraging the power of a larger, more diverse innovation network.

Aaron Katler will remain CEO, while Lisa Lepson of Joshua Venture Group and Aliza Mazor of Bikkurim will take on senior leadership roles at UpStart. All of JVG’s current programs and staff will be integrated into the consolidated entity, allowing us to offer our staff opportunities for growth and to offer our constituents a broader range of services.

We began exploring opportunities to grow our small organization through partnership long before entering these formal conversations, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the result today. We are beyond proud of JVG’s work to reinvigorate Jewish life – and our legacy to-date speaks for itself. JVG emerged as a pioneer in what has grown to be wellspring of support for Jewish innovation, and we are excited to blaze new trails together – as a stronger, more aligned sector – to create more just, vibrant, and inclusive Jewish communities for all.



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