UJA Venture Philanthropy Fund offers $300,000 in new funding


Young leaders spearhead launch of SixPoints.ca

By Dan Horowitz & Suzanne Wintrob--It’s one thing to be charitable, but it’s another thing to actually get an opportunity to understand community needs and create a meaningful impact.

 That’s exactly what businessmen Jonathan Bloomberg, Noah Godfrey and Sam Mizrahi are doing. And the trio, who are chairing UJA Federation’s SixPoints Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund, have successfully encouraged their contemporaries to join them in learning about Jewish philanthropy and making an impact on our community. 

 Started this past winter, SixPoints, which recently saw the launch of its website (SixPoints.ca) featuring its request for proposals, is comprised of some of our community’s most visionary and committed young leaders, all of whom have pooled their financial resources and business planning skills to fund and support new and innovative programs that are consistent with Jewish values, especially that of tikkun olam, “repairing the world.”

 Here’s how SixPoints works.

 Each SixPoints’ member contributes an equal amount and has one vote. The Fund provides a special emphasis on incorporating business principles and ensuring the sustainability of the organizations it funds. Partners in the fund collectively identify, prioritize and fund new initiatives which can benefit from their time, commitment, abilities and insights, as well as help strategize and follow their progress.

 Once all the proposals have been submitted - July 28th is the deadline - SixPoints JVPF members evaluate the proposals and select approximately 10 applicants to make in-person presentations. The SixPoints JVPF then selects four to eight applicants with whom several Fund members will undertake an intensive due diligence process. After this stage, the Fund members vote on which proposals will be funded and the amount of each grant.

 While UJA continues to look after the Jewish community’s needs here, in Israel, and worldwide, SixPoints creates a unique opportunity to raise risk capital to be invested in innovative and compelling projects with the potential to generate a significant social return on investment.

 “This is a great opportunity to get Toronto’s best and brightest young leaders together to collaborate on something that does good for the world,” says Noah, a 34-year-old entrepreneur and father of three.

This year’s JVPF chairs have more than industry experience in common. All are in their 30s, all grew up in Toronto and all are committed to the Jewish community.

 Jonathan, for example, spent his childhood watching his parents, Lawrence and Frances, immerse themselves in UJA and other philanthropic endeavours. As co-founder of the investment counseling firm BloombergSen Inc., the time felt right to follow his parents’ example.

 “I’m interested in UJA, I’ve been around it my whole life,” says Jonathan, 37. “This fund made a lot of sense to me because it’s a unique, hands-on approach to philanthropy, giving us the chance to have a direct impact and see how we’re making a difference.”

 Jonathan and his co-chairs are hard at work recruiting their friends and colleagues. Men and women between ages 30 and 45 are welcome, with each member investing $10,000.

 Noah, son of UJA long-time supporters Paul and Gina Godfrey, is particularly excited about being able to get up close and personal with his donation. “The ability to touch and feel the impact, to point to a group of people and say ‘their lives are better because we were able to help them’ - it just feels good to put a face and a story to your giving,” he says.

 Sam agrees. The 40-year-old father of two, who came to Canada from Iran in 1977, has spent his entire adult life building companies and now heads Mizrahi Developments. He had long wanted to get involved in the Jewish community but couldn’t find the right fit. When he heard about JVPF, he was hooked.

 “JVPF is a very unique type of structure,” says Sam. “It creates an entrepreneurial edge for an organization so they can be self-propelling. It’s one of many great visionary UJA projects – how to utilize the resources of donors like myself, Jonathan and Noah to sort of take it up a notch, to let us roll up our sleeves, and get involved first-hand.”

For more information about UJA Federation’s SixPoints Venture Philanthropy Fund, visit http://SixPoints.ca

The deadline for submitting proposals is July 28th.

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