Georgia Tech Hillel Partners for Propel Win
Atlanta Jewish Times, February 2, 2021
Georgia Tech Hillel and Tikkun Olam Makers won the coveted $35,000 prize in the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s first-ever Propel Pitch virtual competition of Jewish Atlanta Innovation.
The competition challenged 12 recipients of Propel Innovation grants to submit video pitches for the most innovative and impactful ideas in Jewish Atlanta. Propel Innovation is a research and development accelerator for nonprofit organizations and entrepreneurs that are reimagining Jewish life here. The Federation launched the competition to recognize changemakers.
The Propel funding will enable TOM at GT to work on more custom solutions to make life easier for those with disabilities in Atlanta. TOM is an innovative program founded in Israel with chapters across the world in which students design and create prototypes of ingenious new products to assist people living with a disability, known as “need-knowers” in the TOM community.
The funding will support student “makers” during TOM at GT’s first-ever Makeathon March 12-13. The makers will pair with “need-knowers” to create a custom prototype that is take-home-ready by the end of that weekend.
As part of the Propel Pitch competition, 12 Atlanta organizations submitted pitches. On Jan. 14, judges narrowed the submissions down to five finalists and challenged them with probing questions that determined which projects would secure funding.
Accepting the top spot, Hillels of Georgia CEO Elliot Karp said, “Our team demonstrated exceptional vision, passion and business acumen. Hillel’s partnership with TOM is a beautiful example of the synergy and collaboration Hillel strives for in working with other Jewish organizations on campus. The Hillel/TOM partnership not only benefits our Hillel students in terms of their connections to the Jewish community, but will also benefit countless people through their creativity, ingenuity and efforts at solving real life needs and challenges for people with diverse abilities.”
Lauren Rekhelman is former staff lead for TOM at GT and program director for Georgia Tech Hillel. “Over the next few months, TOM student leaders and Hillel staff will work with community partners from JF&CS, Jewish Abilities Alliance, Camp Twin Lakes and more to engage up to 10 members of the Atlanta Jewish community living with disabilities.”
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