This fall marks 10 years since the establishment of the Jewish Community Youth Foundation. The anniversary year will culminate on Sunday, March 3, with a celebration at the annual JCYF Philanthropy Fair and Check Presentation Ceremony.
Since 2003, the JCYF has mobilized over 300 eighth-12th-grade students in the the Princeton Mercer Bucks area to donate a total of $391,745 to 47 different Jewish organizations, including $94,000 to services benefiting Israel. This year, there are 162 students in the program.
One JCYF alumna said, “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 JCYF, I will stay connected to the Jewish community, my Jewish identity, and will have the power to change the world.”
Administered by a partnership of the Ricky and Andrew J. Shechtel Philanthropic Fund, Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County, and the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks, the program is designed to enable teens to learn about, experience, and act upon Jewish values.
Each year, participants contribute $120, which is matched by the Shechtel fund and the federation. The dollars are pooled together, so that each group of about 20 participants has $7,200 for which it is responsible to allocate. The students meet six times between October and March in the Princeton area to discuss tzedaka, assess the issues they wish to explore, invite agencies to apply for funding, and arrange for site visits to those agencies. By the end of the year, each group meets to decide how to donate their funds.
Eighth-graders focus on local Jewish social service agencies; ninth graders, regional and national agencies; sophomores, Jewish arts and culture; juniors, outreach and advocacy; and seniors, philanthropy in Israel.
JCYF is one of 80 similar programs around the country whose aim is to develop a new generation of Jewish philanthropists. For more information, visit jfcsonline.org/jcyf.html or contact JF&CS coordinator of teen programs Celeste Albert at 609-987-8100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.