Jerusalem Initiatives Accelerator
Jerusalem is a diverse city with a vibrant community of change-makers and a broad range of grassroots and social initiatives, all working to improve the city on the ground. However, these initiatives are often widely dispersed, disconnected and many times lack the ability to elevate their cause and reach decision-makers. Most of these organizations do not communicate with one another, resources are not being pooled or maximized; there is great duplication and limited collaboration. In addition, social entrepreneurs, change-makers and smaller activist initiatives lack the necessary skills, tools and networks to promote their cause, connect with others and meaningfully engage Jerusalem’s civil society to join forces and take action.
ANU-Making Change intends to build an active, visible and influential network of social initiatives in Jerusalem, evolving from the highly successful Jerusalem Map of Social Initiatives.
The Jerusalem Map for Social Initiatives (anu.org.il/jlmap) is an interactive map designed for grassroots and social initiatives of all sizes, developed in partnership with The Leichtag Foundation. Launched on October 22, 2017 after many months of planning, the map features over 80 initiatives highlighting Jerusalem’s vibrant and diverse civil society.
Through the Jerusalem Initiatives Accelerator, we intend to take the map’s social initiatives to the next level, providing them with ANU’s ‘Action Toolkit’ which will help them to elevate their cause in the public debate, organize and mobilize supporters and reach decision-makers.
What is the mission and purpose of this program?
The project’s mission is to significantly build the capacity of diverse grassroots initiatives in Jerusalem around education, economic development, culture and more, leveraging their causes and making meaningful connections, to build a more cohesive, active and influential civil society in the city. In parallel, it seeks to increase the awareness and participation of the local Jerusalemite community to partake in social change, increasing cooperation between diverse initiatives in Jerusalem, including religious-secular, Jews-Arabs, and more.
The Jerusalem Map for Social Initiatives (anu.org.il/jlmap) is an interactive map designed for grassroots and social initiatives of all sizes. It showcases organizations and initiatives that improve the lives of people in Jerusalem, displaying social action in a variety of areas including education, economic development, culture, shared society and more. The map includes general information and contact details for each initiative featured. Currently the map includes more than 80 Jerusalem initiatives and is continually growing. It has already succeeded to increase the visibility of dozens of high impact initiatives, make connections and strengthen the social fabric of the local community.
ANU intends to take this project to the next level with the Jerusalem Initiatives Accelerator. Accelerator members will build their capacity to; meaningfully engage with their target audience, facilitate development of a public narrative, mobilize diverse communities to take joint action, and collaborate to design innovative solutions. Participants will learn how to harness the power of the crowd, formulate a clear message, and effective media tactics to generate visibility and elevate their issue in the public discourse.
Member initiatives will also have access to ANU’s ‘Action Toolkit’ which provides practical tools and will increase their capacity to create positive social change.
ANU’s ‘Action Toolkit’ includes:
- Access to a petition platform
- Newsletter templates and management system
- Strategic planning guidance for campaigns
- Creative/graphic design tools
- Access to a database of thousands of potential supporters
- Mass email campaign capacity
- 10 consultation hours in media and organizing
- Access to key decision-makers
- Online promotion tools including Facebook ads, Google AdWords.
- Traditional media training – writing Op-eds and TV interviewing skills
ANU has extensive experience developing the skills and capabilities of organizations and local leaders so they can deal more effectively with the media. We have trained hundreds of organizations and activists to promote their message in a professional way, authentically engage with their audience and reframe social change issues within the Israeli mainstream media.
In accordance with ANU’s methodology, the Accelerator will serve as a platform for co-creation and the foundation for the development of an ecosystem that connects cross-sector Jerusalem initiatives. Members will have the ability to create, share and exchange ideas, leverage new opportunities and tap into under-utilized resources.
Initially we will conduct meetings and interviews with participant initiatives in order to identify their needs, challenges and opportunities. We will then be able to assess the most effective ways that we can convene participant organizations, strengthening the connection between them and encouraging collaboration. We will hold a launching event and additional meetings will be held every 2-3 months (approximately 5 per year), with engaging activities such as ted-style talks, as well as enriching sessions on community organizing and public narrative training. Additionally, participants will receive one on one support through ANU’s interdisciplinary team, to help them leverage their cause.
ANU will also work in partnership with DUGRI, an innovative Israeli organization that helps initiatives identify and assess their collective resources through a set of innovative workshops and an online resources website. This training will promote cooperation, inter-organizational networking and pooling of resources which will enable initiatives to maximize both individual and collective impact. All the data from this session will be added to the virtual map and organizations will have access to this information on an ongoing basis in order to find the resources they need at any given time. ANU also intends to adapt DUGRI’s technology that enables resources to be pooled online, and integrate it into our website. The Accelerator will serve as a pilot for the integration of this technology.
Jerusalem Initiatives Publication:
Finally, we will create an online publication for social activists and initiatives within this network. This will include the necessary information to facilitate collaboration between initiatives and expand the Jerusalem Map. The idea is that each initiative will also contribute to the content. Through this publication, initiatives will be gain access to an online network and a platform where they can share their interests, ideas, accomplishments and resources, as well as report on key activities. The publication will include relevant news, updates, a ‘how to’ section, and blog contributions from leading social activists as well as an entertainment section with quizzes and puzzles specifically tailored for the target audience.
The publication will be led by a coordinator with extensive expertise in the communication field including professional experience as a journalist, editor, spokesperson, publicist and senior media consultant. It will be published once a month and distributed via email to social activists and organizations participating in the project. It will also feature on ANU’s website, making it easily accessible to our community of 115,000 people as well as the wider general public. Initially, based on the number of initiatives involved, we anticipate that the publication will reach approximately 2,400 beneficiaries. We expect this number to increase significantly as the project progresses and more organizations join. We believe that this publication will enable us to scale-up this project; deepening connections between social initiatives, increasing levels of participation and providing opportunities for cross-sector collaboration.
In recent years, Jerusalem has seen significant growth in terms of innovation and has become a hub for many newly established social initiatives. However, whilst it is a flourishing and vibrant city, Jerusalem’s complex blend of ethnicity, beliefs and traditions threatens Jerusalem with social, cultural and religious conflict. Deep inter-group and intra-group differences position Jerusalem as a focal point for tension, intolerance and inequality. We believe that these challenges present an opportunity to close the gap between sectors and promote positive dialogue, collaboration and social cohesion.
Indeed, as the largest and most diverse city in Israel, Jerusalem has a wide range of grassroots and social initiatives on the ground. However, most of these organizations do not communicate with one another, resources are not being pooled or maximized; there is great duplication and limited collaboration. In addition, social entrepreneurs, change-makers and smaller activist initiatives lack the necessary skills, tools and networks to promote their cause, connect with others and meaningfully engage Jerusalem’s civil society to join forces and take action.
Throughout the years, we have worked with hundreds of activists, social leaders, and influencers, and have mapped their needs. Specifically, in 2016, we conducted a Focus Group of 50 leading grassroots activists and opinion leaders, in order to design our products and services. In this process, we learned that the most common obstacle grassroots leaders face is lacking a supportive framework to advance their cause, from networking to fundraising opportunities to practical and professional visibility tools.
By cultivating connections between different initiatives, the Jerusalem Map offers a sustainable infrastructure for co-creation. In taking this project to the next level, the Jerusalem Initiatives Accelerator can provide grassroots organizations with practical and professional tools to facilitate mutually beneficial partnerships, enabling initiatives to expand their reach and effectively lead change. In doing so, we will unite people across religious, ethnic, cultural, gender and economic divides, empowering civil society, cultivating effective leadership and establishing an environment where diverse entities work together for the collective benefit. ANU has extensive experience working in partnership with other organizations in the field. Our model enables us to bring together individuals and organizations from different backgrounds, ideologies, races and ages to work towards shared goals. Together, their power is amplified, which allows them to impact change.
We believe that by galvanizing this microcosm of Israeli society we can break down barriers, counter negative stereotypes and create breakthrough collaborations that will enhance civic engagement in Jerusalem and lead to greater innovation. Jerusalem is continuously in the spotlight, receiving an immense amount of public attention, both nationally and from a global perspective.There is an indisputable need to develop mechanisms that promote cooperation, foster tolerance, shared society and ultimately build social cohesion. The Jerusalem Initiatives Accelerator will consolidate the capacity of social initiatives, paving the way for a more inclusive, equitable and vibrant society where knowledge is shared, communities are connected and diversity is celebrated.
This is a new project that has evolved out of the successful Jerusalem Map of Social Initiatives. This interactive online map was launched in October 2017, and features over 80 grassroots and social initiatives from throughout the city. We established a Steering Committee made up of diverse Jerusalem activists that account for a wide array of perspectives and meet regularly to define criteria, monitor progress and address any issues. We received high levels of engagement with the project from the outset and volunteers were extremely active and committed throughout the process. Within the first month, we exceeded our initial goal to convene 60 diverse initiatives and programs.Currently, the map contains more than 80 initiatives that improve the lives of people in Jerusalem, displaying social action in a variety of areas including education, culture, and economic development initiatives.
Online and offline marketing and PR activities have raised awareness surrounding the project within numerous diverse Jerusalem communities. The project has received extensive media coverage in both traditional media outlets and on social media platforms. Here are links to mainstream media coverage: Kol Hair; My Net Jerusalem; Radio Jerusalem
With additional support, we will be able to take the map to the next level and significantly build the capacity of the map’s initiatives through the Jerusalem Initiatives Accelerator.
How do you measure the success of your program?
We will measure the success of the project according to three main indicators:
- Level of engagement and collaborations in the community: This will be evaluated through a survey to be sent to different organizations and community leaders exploring whether the Accelerator’s activities helped them strengthen partnerships and increase their sense of community.
- Reach: We will examine the number of people reached by each participant organization and by the Jerusalem Initiatives Publication. Thanks to online analytics, we will be able to measure unique and returning users, ages, and regional areas of visitors. We will also measure our target audience’s engagement by monitoring social media indicators including shares, likes, comments and more.
- Increased Capacity: Through a set of evaluation surveys we will examine whether the initiatives that will participate in the Accelerator have increased their visibility, their community of supporters and their level of influence to reach decision makers as a result of this collaboration and access to our activism tool kit.