Despite recession Teen Philanthropists raise $162,000 for grants to nonprofit organizations

Last year, 100 Bay area Jewish teens raised over $204,000 to help people in need across the globe. The teens who raised the money for those grants were all board members of one of four Jewish Community Teen Foundations: San Francisco/Marin, the South Peninsula, the North Peninsula and the East Bay. This year, despite the continuing recession, these teen philanthropists are poised to announce $162,000 worth of grants to support nonprofit run programs in the Bay Area and throughout the world. The program, initiated by the San Francisco based Jewish Community Endowment Fund, teaches teens to be strategic philanthropists and agents for change.

Teen Foundation Board members spend a year learning to run their own nonprofit foundations. Through a weekend retreat and seven Sunday afternoon meetings, the young foundation members discuss Jewish thought and ideas and participate in a series of exercises designed to teach them how to become philanthropic leaders informed by Jewish values. The teens define their own philanthropic priorities for each of the four Teen Foundations. They then invite charities that operate within their area of philanthropic focus to submit grant requests and make in-person presentations. And they raise the majority of funds used to pay for their philanthropic priorities.

The grant awards will be announced at a series of siyums (celebration of good works) happening in the four regional locations this month. The grant announcement siyums offer an opportunity to both learn about the work being done by Bay Area nonprofits to change lives across the globe and to meet the teen philanthropists who raised the funds that are helping to enable the nonprofits’ missions. Teen Foundation Board members are currently reviewing grant applications to help refugees in Darfur to install gray water projects to seed and grow vegetables; to fund eye care for impoverished Arab Israeli and Ethiopian Israeli children; to use art therapy programs to aid Bay Area homeless children; and to offer support to the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda and their Christian and Muslim neighbors by providing healthcare, insecticide-filled nets, and hygiene education for an entire village. Deciding which programs to fund will require the teen philanthropists to make some difficult decisions.

  • For more information about the Jewish Community Teen Foundations, please visit:
  • To attend on of the upcoming siyums, please contact Sue Schwartzman, Director of Youth Philanthropy, 650.852.9020 x 8007,
  • Read the article "Teen-serving nonprofits benefit from local grants" in the Marin Independent Journal.
Categories: Endowment, Events, Teens


May 08, 2009


The Federation