Teen philanthropy program celebrates 15 years

Teen philanthropy program celebrates 15 years

THE JEWISH COMMUNITY Youth Foundation (JCYF) celebrated 15 years of giving at its annual Philanthropy Fair and Check Presentation Ceremony held Feb. 11 at Robbinsville High School. More than $65,000 was distributed to 25 non-profit organizations by 162 local teens representing 13 synagogues, 11 middle schools, and 25 high schools. 

JCYF is a teen philanthropy program — a project of Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County and funded by the Ricky and Andrew J. Shechtel Philanthropic Fund and the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks. The program has disbursed more than $798,734 since its inception 15 years ago.

As part of the anniversary celebration, the foundation held JCYFund Day, a phone-a-thon to raise additional money toward this year’s grant pool, making a greater impact on the awarded grants.      

Cole Wolk, a member of the JCYF senior class of 2018 and Princeton resident said, “I often think back to what I learned in JCYF, including how to speak up for my beliefs, how to evaluate organizations and make thoughtful decisions, and most importantly, how to live my life more charitably.”

Highlights from the February evening included a live grant where the audience participated in a giving circle by selecting one of three agencies chosen by the senior class. Each agency — HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, and Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) — created a video illustrating the impact JCYF has had on their organization over the years. CAMERA received the No Small Change live grant, an initiative where spare change is collected at each JCYF meeting and the pooled money goes to a select organization.  

JCYF gave its annual Alumni Award to Matthew Hampel, class of 2015 and Bucks County resident, for his charity work at Penn State. Jeremy Brandspiegel of East Windsor delivered a dvar Torah discussing the importance of community involvement in order to make a difference in the world.

For information on JCYF contact Celeste Albert, coordinator of teen programs at JFCS of Greater Mercer County, at 609-987-8100, or celestea@jfcsonline.org, or visit jfcsonline.org/jcyf.

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