Accelerator applications for the 2018-19 Cohort are now closed.

The UpStart Venture Accelerator elevates the Jewish community’s boldest entrepreneurs and their groundbreaking ventures to their next stage of growth.

Learn more about the Venture Accelerator here, and read about the application process below.

Application Process

Informational Webinars

Have questions about the Accelerator application process? Wondering if your organization is the right fit? UpStart will host Informational Webinars to review the criteria, provide insight into the program’s requirements, and answer your questions about the application process.

Schedule for Informational Webinars:

  • Thursday, September 27, 2018  |  2pm PST / 4pm CST / 5pm EST
  • Wednesday, October 10, 2018  |  10am PST / 12pm CST / 1pm EST
  • Thursday, October 11, 2018  |  5pm PST / 7pm CST / 8pm EST

Or watch a recording of the webinar below, should you choose to not attend the live meeting.

Selection Criteria

Each year we select the top organizations from a highly competitive pool of applicants. Please review the following Selection Criteria as a guide to ensure the highest likelihood of receiving an invitation into the selection process.

  • Meets a Need: Your organization is fielding increasing demand for its programs and services. Not only are you serving a growing participant base, but their interaction with your programs is having an impact. Show us that there’s a bigger market for your work and that this growing appeal is being matched by a well-executed set of offerings.
  • Makes a Unique Contribution to Jewish Life: Your organization’s mission contributes to the growth and vitality of Jewish life in a bold and potentially game-changing way. Show us how your work is solving a vexing problem or offering a creative approach, and why it is different than others in the field.
  • Vision for Growth: You have a preliminary strategy for scaling your organization’s impact and a growing cadre of committed stakeholders to make it happen. We want to learn about your organization’s vision for the future and how you intend to inspire others to commit the financial and human resources needed to succeed.
  • Dedicated and Effective Leadership: Your organization’s leadership is committed to seeing it through the next stage of its growth, adopting new approaches as needed along the way. The leadership has a sophisticated understanding of the landscape your organization operates in, and has a track record of effectively managing people and processes in order to achieve organizational goals.

Additional Criteria

Organizations with at least three of the following criteria align best with the Accelerator experience. Although it is not required to align with these criteria in order to apply, it is highly recommended.

  • Legal Status: 501c3, Fiscally Sponsored, or B Corp
  • Board Governance: Has an Advisory Board and/or Board of Directors made up of highly engaged stakeholders
  • Budget Size: Yearly projected budget is at least $150K and no more than $650K
  • Staff: There is at least one full-time employee

Participation Requirements

  • Attendance and active engagement in all Accelerator cohort gatherings, coaching sessions, and events
  • One time $2500 Accelerator membership
  • Participation in the UpStart evaluation processes, including providing key impact metrics, required by UpStart and its funders
  • Enthusiasm for learning, openness to risk-taking, and investment in your peers
  • Commitment to making your organization/project your top priority at least through June 2020

2018-2019 Program Dates and Commitments*

  • January 2019: Site Visit with UpStart Coach – The organization’s coach will travel to the organization to see the program/product in action, and support the participant in setting benchmark goals for the first 6-months of the program.
  • February 2019: CORE Coaching begins – Participants will meet with their Coach for 90 mins per month, every month, through the end of the program.
  • March 2019: Cohort Gathering in Denver, CO – Participants will convene for cohort building activities and intensive clinics on nonprofit management.
  • May 2019: The Collaboratory – Participants will attend The Collaboratory, the largest annual gathering of Jewish community visionaries, activists, and catalyzers of change in North America in Brooklyn, NY.
  • July 2019: Accelerator Grant – Participants will receive a grant upon acceptance into the program, and then can apply for additional unrestricted funding.
  • September 2019: Cohort Gathering, location TBD
  • March 2020: Cohort Gathering, location TBD
  • May 2020: The Collaboratory, 2020, location TBD
  • June 2020: Submission of Final Project

*Specific dates and details will be available upon acceptance into the Venture Accelerator


  • Organizations can be based inside or outside the U.S. but require the ability to receive funding in the U.S. and primarily serve North American Jewry.
  • Participants must be 18+ years-old.


If I applied for the Accelerator in the past, may I reapply?
Past-applicants are welcome to reapply, yet we strongly urge you to first review the eligibility criteria and attend an Informational Webinar. If you believe you meet the criteria, an UpStart Program Team can be available to speak, to ensure alignment for acceptance into the Venture Accelerator. Please email to set up a time to connect with an UpStart staff member.

I am a full-time student or employee of another organization. Can my organization still apply?
The UpStart Accelerator supports organizational leaders who are committed to the success and growth of their venture. Over the years, we have found that the most successful organizations are those who have a leader dedicated to the long-term success of the venture and active, consistent participation in the Accelerator.

I am an interfaith organization with a specific focus on the Jewish community. Am I eligible?
Check out our selection criteria above regarding “Makes a Unique Contribution to Jewish Life” – we welcome you to apply, as long as your mission aligns!

I’ve read all of the information in the application and I’m still not sure if my venture meets your criteria. How can I get more information?
UpStart will host Informational Webinars in September and October to review the criteria, provide insight into the program’s requirements, and answer your questions about the application process. Click here to RSVP for a webinar.

I’m having technical issues with the application. How can I get help?
If you have a technical problem when submitting your application email Applicants receive quick and attentive service M-F 9am to 6pm Central. Weekend support is also available but may not be as quick. Questions about application content should be posed to