Innovation Accelerator


Providing impact funding and specialized training to increase teen engagement in local organizations by scaling, expanding, and diversifying offerings.  

Lasting three years, these grants offer organizations the opportunity to support their activities in a variety of ways including covering program expenses, hiring new staff or increasing hours of existing staff, developing branding and marketing material, and creating strategies for outreach to under-engaged populations.   

Through a partnership with UpStart, each organization receives specialized training, participating in both group workshops and individual coaching. Workshop topics include Marketing and Branding, Win-Win Partnerships, and Adaptive Design. Additional workshops provided by the Federation and supported through other partners include Jewish Content Integration, Community Building, and Data-Driven Decision-Making. 

Participants will be guided in developing plans for financial program sustainability through the Innovation Accelerator training and coaching curriculum. Renewal funding will be available through the Initiative for organizations with demonstrated success, at a stepped down level. 

Through their participation in the Innovation Accelerator, educators and youth professionals will:

  • Learn innovative tools and mindsets to design outcomes-based programs;
  • Increase skills in effectively designing and scaling programs that achieve resonance with their target audience;
  • Integrate design thinking methodology into the culture of their organization, including implementation of customer discovery, brainstorming, prototyping and testing; and
  • Feel an increased sense of partnership with the Federation and the Accelerator cohort, leading to possible collaborations and partnerships.

Innovation Accelerator’s first cohort 

  • BBYO - San Francisco/Marin Expansion and Enrichment Initiative 

    Expansion of BBYO’s presence in San Francisco and Marin by developing new chapters with meaningful Jewish niche interest programming; expanding leadership development and outreach efforts in these regions; increasing quality, variety, and impact of programming; and serving as a gateway to continued involvement.

    For diverse, busy Jewish teens who want memorable, exclusive experiences that they can't get anywhere else, and want to spend their valuable time on things that matter, our BBYO San Francisco/Marin experience is a teen led, Jewish brotherhood and sisterhood that helps teens build lifelong friendships.
  • Camp Tawonga - Teen Year-Round Engagement & Leadership Development Program 

    Training workshops for teens to develop the skills to be effective teachers and mentors to youth, with practical experience working at Tawonga’s B’nai Mitzvah programs, family camps, and throughout the community. Social gatherings and community-wide events led by a cohort of teens aimed at expanding year-round engagement of Tawongans and their friends.

    For Bay Area teens who care about professional growth, work opportunities, communal experiences and mentoring kids, our Tawonga Teen Internship Program is a year-round immersive experience designed to foster a passion for working with kids and meaningful experiences with peers that promotes positive self-esteem, develops cooperative community and relevant professional development within the Jewish community.
  • Congregation Emanu-El – Teen Late Night Shabbat 

    Monthly teen-inspired Friday night Shabbat service, modeled after the nationally recognized ‘Late Night Young Adult Shabbat’, which builds community and provides an authentic Jewish spiritual experience. A Teen Leadership Committee (TLC) will build leadership skills and shape programming, including special events, travel experiences, and retreats.

    For teens who want to explore their connection to community and spirituality, our teen engagement programs offer a vareity of experiences - Shabbat, leadership, and community building - that provide opportunities for Jewish education and personal growth.
  • The Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) – Museum Teen Council 

    Expansion of The CJM’s Museum Teen Council to include greater frequency and diversity of teen planned and produced activities, offered free of charge, including an array of art experiences and community building events that allow teens to creatively explore self-expression and their Jewish identities in a Jewish context.

    For artistically-inclined teens who value self-expression and creative connections, The CJM's Museum Teen Council is a teen-centered programming collaborative that builds diverse artistic community through the lens of culture and identity.
  • JCC of San Francisco – Teen Arts Immersion Program (TAIP) 

    A program of theater-arts exploration which encourages teens to explore and understand difference through immersive artistic and “behind the scenes” experiences with playwrights and actors. Framed in Jewish values, TAIP nurtures empathy, inclusion, and inspires teens to build a just and compassionate world.

    For teens who desire exclusive, "behind the scenes" experiences of Bay Area arts and culture and share a concern for the social issues present in these articistic experiences, TAIP offers the opportunity to connect these pieces to deeply rooted Jewish values and wisdom and to their everyday lives.
  • Jewish Youth for Community Action (JYCA) and Peninsula JCC – P-JYCA 

    A youth-led, social justice program for Jewish teens, the Peninsula-JYCA is a partnership program of JYCA and Peninsula Jewish Community Center (PJCC), and will provide opportunities for Jewish teens on the Peninsula to engage in social, racial, environmental and economic justice work as young Jewish leaders while forming a supportive community of growing activists.

    For Jewish youth and their allies who want to create a more just world who are looking for a community of peers to engage in activism with, Peninsula-JYCA offers an opportunity to be a part of a youth-led, Jewish social justice community where youth take action, learn, and build authentic, joyful connections together.
  • Oshman Family Jewish Community Center – ACT

    A diverse array of community service opportunities blended with high energy activities, social development, team building, Jewish learning and reflection.

    For Jewish teens post Bar/Bat Mitzvah who seek connections to friends, development of useful life skills, a sense of purpose, and meaningful involvement in Jewish life post B'nei Mitzvah, the ACT Fully Fellowship is a teen-led service learning and leadership program combined with recreational social team building activities that will teach valuable life skills through experiential education, create strong bonds with friends, deepen exploration of Jewish values, and build connections with organizations that do essential work in the community.
  • NCSY – Jewish Student Union (JSU) Culture Clubs 

    NCSY runs JSU culture clubs in public high schools, coupled with out-of-school teen-led programming to create a continuum of engagement. JSU clubs take a pluralistic approach through partnerships with local Jewish organizations, acting as a natural feeder into Jewish programs and community.

    For Jewish San Francisco teens in grades 8-12 who are interested in Jewish topics, values, and a social environment, our educational and fun JSU programming are weekly opportunities that allow teens to explore their heritage and Israel, connect with other Jewish teens, and develop a strong Jewish identity.
For more information, please contact:
Michele Levine
Director, Teen Initiative