Teen Philanthropists Raise Thousands for Local Nonprofits

The Jewish Teen Foundation (JTF), a program of the Jewish Community Foundation San Diego (JCF), has a 20-year history of providing philanthropy education programs designed uniquely for teens. In 2014, JCF was given an opportunity to expand this experience as part of an international initiative with the Jewish Teen Funders Network, Laura Lauder and the Maimonides Fund. Teen participants are empowered as program officers to take a deep dive into the philanthropic process, embracing the Jewish value of tzedakah – a Hebrew word uniquely defined as both charity and justice.

The program officers develop a mission statement, research nonprofit organizations and review grant applications requesting funding. They engage in numerous conversations with nonprofit professionals and community philanthropists. They also take part in nonprofit site visits and are then entrusted with making grant allocations drawing from what they learned throughout the program.

The 2018-19 JTF program was made up of two cohorts: Central and North County San Diego. Together they have raised close to $30,000 to grant out to organizations of their choice. More than 10 grantees are being considered by the students as they evaluate where the funds would be most impactful.

The two cohorts have each developed independent mission statements. Central San Diego teens aim to invest in organizations improving mental health and welfare. The North County teens’ mission statement aims to invest in organizations improving the welfare of domestic and wild animals.

Additional support for the program was made available through JCF’s Endowment for Youth Philanthropy Fund, the Chortek Family Foundation, Larry Pidgeon Endowment Fund for Young Philanthropists, and numerous individual contributors in the community, including the teen participants.

The Jewish Teen Foundation Board Members will present their grants to the fortunate organizations at their award ceremony on June 2nd, and the community is invited to attend. Contact JCF for more information.

Enrollment is now open for the 2019-2020 academic year and details can be found at: