PresenTenseLA Launch Night was the culmination of a six-month-long program which helps young social
entrepreneurs in our community bring their big ideas to life — and make life better for everyone. The stars of the show were the 12 PresenTenseLA Fellows, who each gave a 45 second pitch on their projects, developed with the help of coaches and mentors who participated in this intensive, skill-building program.
Here’s what a few of our Fellows had to say about the evening:
“Launch Night was a powerful affirmation for why I love the work that I do, and am proud to do that work in the exciting Jewish community of Los Angeles.” - Alisha Pedowitz, BJE Sulam
“My 101 year-old grandpa told me that he is so glad he attended and left feeling that ‘we are in good hands ... The commitment of young people to ensure the future of our traditions, culture and heritage is the very essence of our people.’ I couldn't agree more!” - Ashley Waterman, Tell and Retell
“Being surrounded and supported by so many of our community's creative and dedicated peers, educators coaches and mentors fueled my creative juices and launched my project to great heights!” - Asher Gellis, JQ International
The short program began with a welcome by PresenTenseLA Co-Chairs Polyna Berlin, Shahram Hazany and Elaine Lokshin, who were supported by fellow steering committee members Wendy Jackler, Tami Reiss and Howard Saft. Federation’s Executive Vice President Andrew Cushnir spoke about how PresenTenseLA embodies our Federation’s commitment to innovation in Jewish life. And Israeli Consul General David Siegel spoke passionately about how the spirit of innovation in Los Angeles matches that in Israel.
Following their pitches, the 12 Fellows set up shop throughout the venue so they could share materials about their work, featuring logos and collateral created by BTS Communications. They were there to answer questions, accept enthusiastic praise and enlist the kinds of help they need to make their dreams a reality. If the enthusiasm of the crowd was any indication, they can look forward to great things – and so can our community!
PresenTenseLA received seed funding from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles and our Federation’s Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund.
By Denise Osso, Vice President for Creative Services at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles