The First Incubator For Spiritual Entrepreneurs
Building upon Clal’s successful run of training, mentoring, supporting, and fiscally sponsoring rabbi-founded startups over the past three years, Glean not only provides the entrepreneurship education of a leading venture incubator, but adds an integrated layer of spiritual development that is largely absent from this emerging field. By partnering with Columbia Business School, Glean equips its entrepreneurs with the highest-level training to seize the abundant opportunity in this time of great change in American religion, and build sustainable ventures that will flourish for years to come.
In the ever-shifting American religious landscape, the vast majority of philanthropic and venture dollars are directed towards sustaining legacy institutions, while entrepreneur-led startups are frequently an afterthought. Clal’s Glean incubator seeks to provide an ecosystem of support – the highest-level resources – to the generation of faith-rooted spiritual entrepreneurs who will not only build the next round of spiritual institutions, but will re-weave the social and economic fabric of America.
We believe that the work of entrepreneurship is often extremely difficult, all-consuming, emotionally draining, and spiritually challenging. Therefore, as spiritual entrepreneurs who seek to lift up their constituents, promote human flourishing, and implement projects that will leave the world better than how they found it, they must simultaneously be uplifted, experience a thriving inner and outer life, and push themselves to approach the version of themselves they seek to become.
For every assignment that focuses on developing the venture, our participants simultaneously work to develop themselves.
We believe that top-down hierarchies and coercive doctrine are relics of the past. The work of spiritual entrepreneurship is as much about listening for the still, small voice of divinity among us as it as about co-authoring a new set of scriptures to complement the existing canon.
Not only does Glean practice this approach in working with entrepreneurs, but Glean itself is constantly in the process of being co-created by staff, faculty, participants, and a broad and diverse set of stakeholders.
Innovation by Design
We believe that this moment calls for deep curiosity, radical empathy, and profound creativity applied diligently to the work at hand.
By using the design process alongside a myriad of tools of innovation, we equip our entrepreneurs with the skills and confidence to constantly look for opportunities to ask: “How might we…?”
We believe that this emerging field of spiritual entrepreneurship requires a rigorous, scientific approach to understanding and measuring its growth. Gone are the days of measuring religious impact by the “Two M’s” (money and members).
In this moment, we are called to invest seriously in the research and development of a new set of metrics that can accurately tell the story of this moment, and of the profound transformation taking place on an individual and communal level inside these new spiritual ventures.
We believe that servant leadership is not only a set of practices that puts people before programs, and values curiosity over doctrine, but also a philosophy to be lived out in all facets of a leader’s life.
We are here to serve you, and our intention is that you will in turn do the same for those you seek to serve.
We believe that a field is emerging in which sacred, spiritual practices are in conversation with modern tools of business, and wisdom traditions are manifesting in new forms of enterprise.
As such, we seek to nurture the growth of this field – and all those who stand to flourish in light of its emergence.
Director of Innovation
Rabbi Elan Babchuck is Director of Innovation at Clal, and Founding Director of Glean Incubator, an ecosystem of support where spiritual entrepreneurs receive training, coaching, and mentorship. Prior to joining Clal, he served as Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Providence, RI, where he became the first religious leader to be named one of the city’s “10 to Watch”. He was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2012 and earned his MBA that year, as well.
Rabbi Irwin Kula is a disruptive spiritual innovator and rogue thinker. A 7th generation rabbi he is Co-President of Clal–The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership a do-tank committed to making Jewish a Public Good. A thought leader on the intersection of innovation, religion, and human flourishing, Irwin has worked with leaders from the Dalai Lama to Queen Noor and with organizations, foundations, and businesses in the United States and around the world to inspire people to live with greater passion, purpose, creativity and compassion.
Glean Program Manager
Adele Anderson (Clal) is the Glean Program Associate. A recent graduate of Brown University, Adele is motivated by compelling connections between humans, scientific inquiry, and systems-scale thinking. She feels grateful to live in Providence, Rhode Island, where she rock climbs, researches saltmarsh sparrows, and is trying to hand-craft a truly accurate sundial.
Jack McGourty, Ph.D.
Jack McGourty Ph.D. (Columbia) is Director of Community and Global Entrepreneurship at the Columbia Business School and a faculty member teaching courses in entrepreneurship, venture creation, and product innovation. Prior to joining the Columbia Business School, Jack was Vice Dean for Columbia’s Engineering School.
Ashley Zwick (Columbia) is currently Director of the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School. In this capacity, Ashley is responsible for shaping the strategic priorities of the Center, and implementing the Center’s portfolio of programming for students and alumni.