Hillel International today announced an ambitious new project that seeks to strengthen the talent pipeline for Jewish organizations through new positions for recent college graduates on campuses across the country. The Springboard Fellowship will train cohorts of young Jewish professionals in highly-valued skillsets and place them at local Hillel campuses for two years. The Springboard Fellowship is a reimagining of the Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps Fellowship, which Hillel ran from 1994 to 2008 and trained a generation of emerging Jewish communal leaders through their roles in Jewish student engagement.
Seeking to build the next generation of Jewish professionals and equip them with broadly applicable skills, this new fellowship hopes to serve 500 fellows in its first five years. The Springboard Fellowship comes as part of Hillel International’s Drive to Excellence and its efforts to recruit and maintain top-level talent, essential to increasing Hillel’s levels of student engagement on college campuses.
“One of Hillel’s key roles is to build and grow the next generation of Jewish talent, both for our own movement and the broader Jewish world,” said Eric D. Fingerhut, President and CEO of Hillel International. “Through the Springboard Fellowship, we can build on the relationships we develop with young Jews on campuses across the country and around the world to provide college graduates with innovative education and skills training while serving our communities.”
In the early 1990s, Hillel International recognized that wide swaths of the Jewish community on campus were not engaging in Hillel programming and launched the Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps. For 14 years this program trained young Jewish leaders to spearhead campus Hillel’s outreach efforts and to build inclusive and diverse communities. The Springboard Fellowship seeks to build on the success of the JCSC, placing young leaders on college campuses and training them in the critical skills – design thinking, innovation, and digital strategy, among others – that our campuses need.
“I am so proud of the hundreds of young leaders trained by the Steinhardt Jewish Campus Service Corps, many of whom continue to serve the Jewish community in so many ways today,” said Michael Steinhardt, Chair of the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life. “The Springboard Fellowship is an innovative way to build on the JCSC legacy, engaging a new generation of young Jews at this critical moment for the Jewish community.”
The Springboard Fellowship will seek to attract bright, talented young leaders and train them in critical, widely sought after skills while simultaneously steeping them in Jewish tradition and community. Promising competitive salaries, unique opportunities for innovative and entrepreneurial thinking and strong mentorship and peer education, the fellowship strives to attract a wide range of emerging Jewish leaders, including those who may have never considered Jewish professional work. In doing this, Hillel International hopes to build a pool of young talent that has both Jewish knowledge and the skills that Jewish organizations desperately need, while simultaneously equipping the next generation of young Jews to lead Jewishly and to be excellent professionals, wherever they go in their careers.
The fellowship will begin in the fall of 2016 with a pilot, or “Aleph,” year with 20 fellows. Hillel aims to grow the program to classes of nearly 100 fellows once it is fully implemented. The initial participants will choose between specialty areas in Innovation and Social Media. As the program grows, participants, local Hillels and Hillel International leaders will identify other critical areas of work for fellows to undertake.
The fellowship is spearheaded by Hillel International’s Chief Talent Officer, Mimi Kravetz, who came to Hillel last year after serving several years as an executive at Google. “In speaking to Hillel leaders and Jewish professionals across the country I noticed that the skills their organizations urgently needed – innovation, design thinking, digital strategy and social media – were the exact skills young people want and need to thrive in today’s marketplace,” Kravetz said. “Our new fellowship hopes to build a broader pool of young, well-qualified professionals with top-notch skills and a deep commitment to Jewish community.”
Fellowship participants will be jointly funded by Hillel International and by the local Hillel campuses that they serve. The fellowship launch is made possible in large part by a generous gift from the Pittsburgh-based Beacon and Shapira Foundations. Recently named Chair of Hillel International Board of Governors, David S. Shapira has helped to guide Hillel International’s strategic vision for change through working to develop the Drive to Excellence. The Foundations’ support for the Springboard Fellowship demonstrates their commitment to ensuring that the Hillel movement attracts and maintains talented and highly qualified staff needed to fuel innovation and growth. Hillel International is engaging with other programmatic and funding partners to support future Springboard classes and specific tracks of work.
For more information about the Springboard Fellowship visit: http://www.hillel.org/springboard