Teen Philanthropists Begin Tenth Year of Giving

The Jewish Community Youth Foundation (JCYF) youth philanthropy program will be celebrating its 10 Year Anniversary in the fall, with over 160 teens from 8th-12th grade participating in the project from the Princeton Mercer Bucks area. Since 2003, the Jewish Community Youth Foundation has donated $391,745 to 47 different organizations. One JCYF alumna stated, "JCYF has allowed me to develop interpersonal skills and has been totally enriching. Next year, and throughout the rest of my life I will take with me a never ending passion to help and to give. Through the lessons learned at the Jewish Community Youth Foundation, I will stay connected to the Jewish community, my Jewish identity, and will have the power to change the world."

Administered by a unique partnership consisting of the Ricky and Andrew J. Shechtel Philanthropic Fund, Jewish Family & Children's Service, and the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks, the program is designed to have teens learn about, experience, and act upon Jewish values.

Each year, the participants are required to contribute $120, which is then matched by the Shechtel Philanthropic Fund and the Federation. The dollars are pooled together, so that each group of 20 participants has $7,200 for which it is responsible to allocate 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. By the end of the year, each group meets to debate and decide how to donate their funds.

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 80 similar programs around the country, and it 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, contact Celeste Albert at 609-987-8100 or celestea@jfcsonline.org. There is a program participation fee in addition to the contribution and no one will be turned away for inability to pay.