Across the country, Jewish organizations and projects are experimenting with programs, marketing, and outreach to attract next generation funders and participants. While many have yet to find success, Slingshot has been able to attract funders in their 20s and 30s to the Slingshot Fund collective giving process. The opportunity afforded by membership in the Slingshot Fund goes beyond the traditional collective giving, grant-making experience. In fact, the foundation of Slingshot's success in attracting next generation members lies not at all in the funding process, but instead in the opportunity we provide next generation funders in their 20s and 30s to play leadership and decision-making roles in a growing organization. Slingshot's purpose is not to hoard our members, but instead to help them find their place in Jewish life.
As we have observed this cohort's philanthropic identity develop, we have tried to draw conclusions about what it will mean for the Jewish community. More specifically, how does this identity differ from that of their parents' generation? As Slingshot's members play a more substantial role in Jewish life, where do they envision committing their support? This cohort's future support for and involvement in Jewish life are bound up in the answers to these questions. To explore the origins and implications of this generational shift, particularly regarding mainstream Jewish involvement, I spoke with two Slingshot Fund leaders and their parents. Rachel Klinghoffer and Jonathan Raiffe both grew up in families that were deeply involved with traditional Jewish organizations and structures. They are now in their 20s and are strongly committed to newer expressions of Jewish philanthropy.