In November, the group announced an upcoming merger with Bikkurim, Joshua Venture Group and the U.S. arm of Present Tense, a move that will effectively bring several nonprofit accelerators under UpStart’s roof.
Toby was about thinking big and having a big, hairy audacious goal.
Nonprofits that have moved through UpStart’s Accelerator program offer high praise for the help they received there.
Ilana Schatz, the founding director of Fair Trade Judaica, is among them. The East Bay nonprofit promotes socially conscious Jewish consumerism, with the ultimate goal of building a fair trade movement in the Jewish community. She said the assistance she received was immensely valuable.
“UpStart was critical at helping me develop my business plan,” Schatz said. “My background is in nonprofit and public health, but UpStart brought a business perspective. Early on we developed lots of ideas about monetization, and our income-generating strategies are bringing in 60 percent of our revenue.”
Rubin, said Schatz, taught her to aim high. “Toby was about thinking big and having a big, hairy audacious goal — that’s what it’s known as in strategic planning.”
David Winitsky is artistic director of the Jewish Plays Project, which was accepted into UpStart’s first national cohort in 2014. Based in New York, it produces new Jewish plays and musicals. “We want people 100 years from now to look back and say, ‘Oh, that’s what the 21st century looked like,’” Winitsky said.
Winitsky credits UpStart and the connections he made at a 2014 conference with his organization’s expansion to the Bay Area.
“I came out for the launch of the UpStart office in Palo Alto,” he said. “They had a big event with a bunch of their [board members, coaches and donors] there, and I gave my one-minute pitch. Someone saw it, and that has led to my two years of programming in Palo Alto. I met a donor who loved the idea, who was able to put together a group of people that made the Palo Alto program possible.”
Since stepping down, Rubin, 62, has taken some much-deserved time off. She looks forward to putting her experience to work consulting in the same field.
“I think the biggest shift in my life can be expressed as the fact that I’m living my life incessantly, and working around that,” she said. “I’m enjoying mornings that are dedicated to health and wellness activities that I’ve wanted to be a part of forever. … But I’m also picking up consulting work, taking up the projects that are really interesting and that are defined so I can manage the amount of time in my life that they will take.”