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B’nai Tzedek Seeks Teen Philanthropists

Teens in the B’nai Tzedek Youth Foundation take the grant review process seriously as they decide how to distribute funds that they raised themselves.

WESTERN MASS. – The B’nai Tzedek Youth Foundation BTYF is seeking teens in grades 9-12 to participate in a leadership council that engages in community service, fundraising projects, and collective grant-making. B’nai Tzedek, founded by Longmeadow philanthropist Harold Grinspoon, provides teens an opportunity to learn about becoming tomorrow’s philanthropists. Each year, up to 20 teens are selected to be part of the B’nai Tzedek Youth Foundation, which provides an intensive experience of leadership and philanthropy in action.
The grant-making process for the B’nai Tzedek Youth Foundation begins in the late fall, when teens draft a group mission statement. Later, they raise funds and review grant applications before making final decisions about the programs they wish to support. Last year, the teens decided to support three types of grants: 1) caring for those in need 2) pursuing peace and coexistence and 3) protecting the environment. A sampling of projects that received BTYF funds include an adult kosher hot meal program with the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires; a community garden at Gan Keshet Preschool in Northampton; the purchase of household supplies for refugees in Western MA through Jewish Family Service and medical supplies for the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind; and a school nutrition program in the Abayudaya Jewish community in Uganda, Africa, through Kulanu, Inc.
BT Youth Foundation applications will be accepted until all spots are filled. Any teen 12-18 years old may also sign up to receive a monthly BT newsletter with announcements about local teen activities and accomplishments. For more information visit www.HGF.org, or apply to the BT Youth Foundation directly, go to www.tinyurl.com/BTYF2012Application.

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