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Equitable application processes in the social innovation space: A commentary by Sarah Gass, Noam Lindenbaum, and Emily Lezin

February 09, 2022

Business_handshake_fundraising_GettyImagesCreating more equitable application processes

Social entrepreneurs who apply to a program, fellowship, or funding opportunity are essentially raising their hands to say, “I have a vision for the future, and I want to take my best shot at making it a reality.” At UpStart, we support a network of entrepreneurial Jewish ventures and leaders—and we know that every decision we make on an application can have long-term implications for what our community looks like and who receives support in building it.

In October 2021, our friends at the Harvard Kennedy School of Social Innovation + Change Initiative (SICI) published “Transparent Gatekeeping: Part 2,” which sheds light on their application and selection processes in the (secular) social innovation space. Given UpStart’s role in shaping this space within the Jewish community, we wanted to take a page from SICI’s playbook and share the changes we’ve implemented in our own application and selection processes.

Our learning journey

As conveners of a network of Jewish social entrepreneurs, we take seriously our responsibility to not only level the playing field in selection and recruitment, but also develop what we call “equity-informed entrepreneurial leaders”—leaders with the capacity to acknowledge, account for, and disrupt systemic inequities as they build new Jewish initiatives. We’re sharing these changes in hopes that those in our network and beyond will be inspired to create more equitable application and selection processes....

Read the full commentary by Sarah Gass, Emily Lezin, and Noam Lindenbaum, director and program experience coordinator of the Entrepreneurs and Ventures and program operations associate in the Intrapreneurs and Institutions program, respectively, at UpStart.

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