The Jewish Community Youth Foundation is excited to kick off its thirteenth year this fall, as it celebrates its Bar Mitzvah year.  The program brings together nearly 200 teens in grades 8 through 12 from the greater Mercer County area.   The Jewish Community Youth Foundation is a project of Jewish Family & Children’s Service and funded by the Ricky and Andrew J. Shechtel Philanthropic Fund and the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks.  The program is designed to have teens learn about, experience, and act upon Jewish values.

Each participant contributes $120, which is then matched by the Shechtel Philanthropic Fund and The Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks. The contributions are pooled together and each group of participants is responsible for allocating thousands of dollars to worthy causes. The students meet six times between October and March in the Princeton area to discuss Tzedakah, assess the kinds of programs and issues they wish to explore, invite specific agencies to apply for funding, and arrange for site visits to those agencies. At year-end, each group meets to debate and decide how their dollars will be donated.  Since the Jewish Community Youth Foundation’s inception, the teen philanthropists have donated $605,090 to 57 different Jewish recipient agencies locally, nationally and around the world.

This progressive curriculum begins with incoming eighth graders who focus on local Jewish agencies that provide assistance to those in need. Each year progresses to a different focus, as ninth graders explore regional and national agencies, tenth graders investigate Jewish arts and culture, eleventh graders focus on outreach and advocacy, and twelfth graders learn about philanthropy in Israel.

The Jewish Community Youth Foundation is one of 133 similar programs around the country, and ours is a model that is receiving national attention. The goal is to develop a new generation of Jewish Philanthropists; judging by the reactions of the participants and their parents, it is well on its way to success.

Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth grade registration is now in progress.  For more information, visit our website at: or contact Celeste Albert at 609-987-8100 or  The first Jewish Community Youth Foundation meeting will take place in the fall.  Space is limited.  

Teen Philanthropists Celebrate Ten Years of Giving

Over 600 people were in attendance as the Jewish Community Youth Foundation (JCYF) celebrated its ten year anniversary at its annual Philanthropy Fair and Check Presentation Ceremony, held March 3 at West Windsor Plainsboro High School South. A total of $72,000 was distributed to 29 programs by 162 area teens representing 12 Middle Schools, 21 High Schools and 17 Synagogues.

JCYF is a teen philanthropy program administered by Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Mercer County, the Ricky and Andrew J. Shechtel Philanthropic Fund, and the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks.

Alison Berg of Princeton Junction, a Junior at the University of Michigan and a 2010 JCYF graduate, won the third annual JCYF Distinguished Alumni Award for her commitment to the Jewish community and her participation in many philanthropic and community service activities. She received a $360 award which she will donate to sponsor fellow JCYF alumna Erica Borsack of West Windsor as she participates in the NYC Aquaphor Triathlon for Team OneFamily, which helps victims of terrorist attacks in Israel rebuild their lives. When asked about her time in JCYF, Alison stated that "the Jewish Community Youth Foundation was the best high school experience that I had and has lasted me long past graduation."

The night also highlighted JCYF's tenth anniversary. Naomi Skop Richter, a Program Associate at the Jewish Teen Funders Network stated that "The Jewish Community Youth Foundation Check Presentation Ceremony exemplified the power of Jewish youth philanthropy. It is thrilling to see how many teens and non-profits have been reached by the Jewish Community Youth Foundation over its 10 years. The Jewish Teen Funders Network holds up JCYF as a model for Jewish educators around North America inspiring them to bring Jewish youth philanthropy to their teens."

Since its inception, 357 JCYF participants have donated $463,745 to 53 Jewish programs. The recipients include local, national, and Israeli charitable organizations supporting many different needs throughout the Jewish community. The event ended by honoring the 34 JCYF graduating seniors. Stefanie Wisotsky of West Windsor stated, "I know that I will continue using everything I have learned from JCYF and philanthropy will always be a priority in my life."

For more information regarding the Jewish Community Youth Foundation, please contact Celeste Albert at 609-987-8100 or or visit our website at