Jewish Teen Foundations Instill Lifelong Activism and Philanthropy

“Teens step up when they are entrusted with responsibility.”


by Rachel Levenson, JTF Alumnus I do not know even where to begin or how to express the importance of the Jewish Teen Foundations on my life. Starting with the JTF board from 8th grade onwards, this experience has been one of, if not the most important thing in my life for helping me find my personal interest and think critically.

The Teen Foundations provided me a place to interact with adults as peers, and I owe a lot of my personal growth to the program. It made me step back and think about what my role – as a Jew and as a global citizen – was and is in the larger worldwide community. I had to think about ways to integrate my Jewish values into projects that are bigger than just the Jewish community.

The Teen Foundations helped me find what I am passionate about. This year, I am starting a job in Malawi where I will be running an evaluation of a project that reduced the barriers to accessing savings accounts. I could not be more excited to be part of an organization that is working to try to measure effectiveness. There is no doubt in my mind that I would not be where I am today without the Teen Foundation.


WHERE IS RACHEL TODAY? Rachel focused her university studies on international development in Africa. She conducted research over the course of 4 months in Uganda which ultimately led to her thesis. She participated in American Jewish World Service learning in Nicaragua and Uganda, and studied in Senegal where she perfected her French.  Rachel spent a year at Oxford studying international development. Today, Rachel is a Wesleyan University graduate, who has opened a  donor advised fund at the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund and has pledged to give at least 10% of her income to charities until her retirement. You can learn more about the Jewish Teen Foundations on their website. Applications for the 2012-2013 boards will open on August 22.
Categories: Philanthropy, Teens


August 21, 2012


The Federation