The Corner Office, Rhythm ‘N’ Ruach, Train Your Inner Warrior, Components Clothing System, and Camp Nadav… to Name a Few
Jewish Federation of St. Louis is proud to announce the eight St. Louis ventures which have secured a spot in the 2017 cohort of JACE Accelerator Innovators. JFACE, an acronym for Jewish Federation of St. Louis Accelerating Community Entrepreneurs, assists social entrepreneurs in the development of their original ventures aimed at solving challenges facing the St. Louis community.
This past July, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis launched their partnership with global Jewish accelerator group PresenTense to form JFACE. This six-month-long, St. Louis-based JFACE accelerator program aims to find ways to overcome challenges identified in the Jewish Federation of St. Louis 2014 community study. These challenges fell into three primary categories: 1) there are common elements that cause a significant portion of the local Jewish community to struggle financially; 2) there is a geographic divide among more and less engaged Jewish households; and 3) the community must do better when working to engage young families.
The JFACE program accepted applications from individuals who already had an idea to launch new Jewish ventures or were in the early stages of development, as well as to innovators who did not have an idea yet but who wanted to work on issues identified by the Jewish Federation of St. Louis as key challenges facing the local Jewish community.
The JACE Accelerator Innovators for 2017 are:
- Anna Altman – Train Your Inner Warrior
Altman has been a leader in the fitness industry for over 16 years. Her venture, Train Your Inner Warrior, seeks to spread a positive message of beauty and fitness to Jewish women and girls. Her goal is to empower women worldwide by fortifying them with an understanding of how exercise and food affect their mind, body and spirit. This is accomplished through group workouts, with appropriate supplemental food, coaching and education, as well as creating clothing suitable for them to wear that feels comfortable and looks great.
- Andy Brown – Camp Nadav
Brown is a lifelong St. Louisan, a 25-year veteran Jewish summer camping professional and an owner of Camp Manitowa, an independent coed overnight summer camp and outdoor retreat center in Rend Lake, Illinois. His venture is Camp Nadav, an affordable, one-week Jewish camp at Camp Manitowa that enables all kids to have the chance to experience residential summer camp. Camp Nadav features an Israel Day, Tikkun Olam projects, Jewish song sessions, Shabbat services and kosher-style meals.
- Shelley Dean – Rhythm ‘N’ Ruach
A mother of four young children, Dean’s mission is to bring joyful Judaism to the St. Louis Jewish community and across the nation through music and other means so that people of all ages can increase their Jewish involvement. Her venture, Rhythm ‘N’ Ruach, is an energetic, parent-child musical program that seeks to introduce the joy of Judaism into the souls of children and families. Dean discovered joyful Judaism herself while participating in Livnot U’Lehibanot, a three-month program in Israel.
- Carla Feuer – The Corner Office
Feuer has been a marketing and communications professional for more than 25 years. She is the author of “Talking a Good Game: A Guide to Sports Talk in the U.S. Workplace,” a book that was inspired in part by her real-life work experiences. Her venture, The Corner Office, will be a chain of suburban business lounges that provide convenient, affordable meeting, work and collaboration space for established professionals who currently use coffee shops as temporary offices. The Corner Office intends to start in St. Louis before expanding regionally and nationally.
- Sam Freedman – Community Engagement
Freedman is a young professional with a financial background who grew up in University City. He is an active board member of the Agudah, the Standards & Capacity Building Subcommittee of the Jewish Federation and JF&CS, and is a graduate of the 2015 class of Millstone Fellows. His venture aims to find ways to help with the continuity and unification of the St. Louis Jewish Community through community-based programs that spur comradery among and between the young families in St. Louis.
- Nina Levine – Community Engagement
Levine is a young professional from St. Louis with more than 10 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including food service, event coordination and customer service. Levine is passionate about working with the Jewish community.
- Nancy Nix-Rice – Components Clothing System (CCS)
Nix-Rice is an author who wrote a book on wardrobe development. Her book, entitled “Looking Good…Every Day,” has helped thousands of women reinvent their wardrobes and is used to train new image consultants at colleges across the country. Her venture, Components Clothing System (CCS), produces and sells made-to-order women’s career and business-casual clothing to take the stress out of shopping for busy women. Garments will be sewn in a local start-up factory in the T-REx incubator in downtown St. Louis, training and employing previously-incarcerated women.
- Paul Sorenson – Jewish Neighborhood Center
Sorenson is the Director of Strategic Planning at Grace Hill Settlement House where he works on community development efforts in North and South St. Louis City. As a social entrepreneur, Sorenson founded GoodMap to help nonprofits connect to each other online. He is also a current FOCUS St. Louis Impact Fellow focused on racial equity in the region. His venture aims to establish a sustainable Jewish Neighborhood Center in the City of St. Louis with a focus on equality, diversity and cross-community exchange.
“We are excited to announce this year’s group of JFACE innovators and to support their creative projects,” said Ben Fox of Jewish Federation of St. Louis. “Over the next six months, these entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to participate in JFACE seminars, one-on-one coaching and mentorship, as well as apply for a small amount of prototype funding. Our goal is to recognize and support Jewish innovators in St. Louis.”
JFACE Innovators will also have the opportunity to share a collaborative working office space at the CIC-STL in St. Louis’ Cortex Innovation Community. The JFACE program will culminate with JFACE Launch Night in June 2017, a final celebration of social entrepreneurship as these innovators will present their ventures to the St. Louis community.
PresenTense is an international organization that equips passionate people with the entrepreneurial skills and support networks needed to further their community-minded ventures. “We’re thrilled to partner with Jewish Federation of St. Louis and welcome the first cohort of dedicated individuals who are solving the community’s needs,” said Sarah Gass, Director, Accelerator Programs at PresenTense. “By deploying our unique, community-based accelerator model, the Federation is creating a strong pipeline of visionaries and equipping them with the tools and resources needed to build a vibrant Jewish future.”
To find out more about the winners and the program, go to JFedSTL.org/JFACE.