Teens in B’nai Tzedek Program Learn to How Be Philanthropists

How do you teach a young person the value of tzedakah and the skills he/she will need to become a philanthropist? The Jewish Federation of Louisville’s B’nai Tzedek program is designed to do just that in a way that makes it relevant and engaging for today’s young people.

The B’nai Tzedek program enables young people to experience what it means to be philanthropists by taking them through the process of evaluating projects and choosing which to fund from a pool of dollars to which they contribute.

A one-hour informational meeting for those interested in participating in the group is scheduled for Sunday, March 15, at 2 p.m.

To participate in the program, b’nai mizvah candidates and those who have recently celebrated their b’nai mitzvah donate some of the money they receive as gifts for their milestone celebration. That money will be matched, creating principal for an endowment. Some of the funding from the match will come from the Lewis D. Cole Youth Initiative and some from other donors, to be named later.

The money each candidate contributes is added to the principal of the existing B’nai Tzedek Fund that was created by past program participants, and the amount of money available to be allocated is determined by the same formula that governs the allocation of all endowment funds administered by the Jewish Foundation of Louisville.

Using a curriculum developed by the Jewish Teen Funders Network, participants will work as a group to decide how available dollars should be allocated. They will engage in meaningful discussions and hands-on experiences.

Approaching the project methodically, they will develop a mission statement and answer questions including what’s the purpose of being a Jewish group and what values are important. Once they have determined what they want to accomplish, they will solicit proposals from groups seeking funding for projects or programs that match the B’nai Tzedekers’ goals.

As those proposals come in, the participants will review them, ask questions and, in some cases, even make site visits. Once all the information has been gathered, the participants will hold discussions, build a consensus and decide which proposals they can fund.

The participants will be the decision makers. They will decide what kinds of projects or programs they want to fund, will craft the RFP (request for proposal), evaluate the submissions, ask the tough questions and make the final choices. Once they complete the program, they will have the skills they will need to make informed decisions about their charitable giving throughout their lives.

Along the way, they may be able to earn community service hours for some of their activities.

For additional information, contact B’nai Tzedek Program Director Glenn Sadle, gsadle@jewishlouisville.org or 238-2701.

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