URJ’s Camp Dream Street Named to Prestigious Slingshot Guide
Camp Dream Street Mississippi, a five-day camping program for children with disabilities, has been named one of 18 leading Jewish organizations committed to fostering inclusion of people with disabilities in the prestigious Slingshot Guide, created as a guidebook to help funders diversify their giving portfolios to include the most innovative and effective organizations, programs and projects in North America. Dream Street Mississippi, held on the grounds of URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp and sponsored by NFTY’s Southern Region, was founded in 1975 with the mission that all children, regardless of their abilities, must be offered the chance to have fun, to make new friends, to achieve, to be accepted for who and what they are, and to learn from the challenges of group life.
The Slingshot Guide notes that Dream Street Mississippi, selected from among hundreds of finalists reviewed by 83 professionals with expertise in grant-making and Jewish communal life, “uses creative methods in its approach to offering physical activities for campers who have physical challenges, while providing a high-impact, hands-on program for Jewish teen volunteers. Dream Street is unique in that it is volunteer led and cost-free to participants.”
Said Scott Levy, Dream Street Mississippi Chairman:
Dream Street Mississippi is proud to be among the 18 organizations included for meeting those standards. All the organizations included help break down barriers and build opportunity for engagement for those with special needs – both within and beyond the Jewish community – as never before.
Jonathan “J.C.” Cohen, Director, URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp, added,
Over the years, Dream Street has turned so many teens into advocates and champions for those with disabilities – with many becoming professionals in fields that help serve those with special needs. While great things happen at camp, it’s the great works, big and small, that alumni have gone on to do that is truly Dream Street’s greatest achievement.
Will Schneider, Executive Director of Slingshot, which publishes the Guide each year, said,
All too often, the discussions about disability and inclusion take place quietly only among impacted families and those who advocate on their behalf. We hope this Guide will inspire those who are already part of the discussion, while also bringing new voices into it. It only makes sense to give these organizations the recognition they deserve and in doing so, also boost their presence among volunteers, donor and activists. The Guide is the framework for a community that through the collaboration that results from inclusion in the Guide, becomes something significantly more effective than what each of the individual organizations can achieve on their own.
Being listed in the Slingshot Guide is often a critical step for selected organizations to attain much needed additional funding and to expand the reach of their work. Selected organizations are eligible for grants from the Slingshot Fund, a peer-giving network of young donors with an eye for identifying, highlighting and advancing causes that resonate the most with the next generation of philanthropists. Furthermore, the Guide is a frequently used resource for donors seeking to support organizations transforming the world in novel and interesting ways.
The Slingshot Guide, now in its ninth year, contains information about each organization’s origin, mission, strategy, impact and budget, as well as details about its unique character. The Slingshot Guide has proven to be a catalyst for next generation funding and offers a telling snapshot of shifting trends in North America’s Jewish community – and how nonprofits are meeting new needs and reaching new audiences. The book, published annually, is available in hard copy and as a free download at www.slingshotfund.org.