The Jewish Community Heroes Award contest has concluded – and Ari Teman, founder of JCorps, is the recipient of the Community Hero Award for 2009 and the accompanying $25,000 prize. Congratulations to Ari.
Ari was one of five finalists and over 400 nominees who were nominated during this initiative that was designed to recognize, and honor, individuals who are bettering their communities through service and outreach. Each and everyone, along with countless others, deserve our thanks every day.
Ari was also a participant in the 2009 ROI Summit, a multi-day annual gathering of 120 young Jewish innovators who come together [in Israel] to network, build skills and most important, be inspired by both their peers and the community members who come to lend support to those building our future.
Here’s what The Jewish Week had to say about Ari last year when they named him to 36 Under 36:
Ari Teman was tired of meeting the same group of people at parties. So he founded JCorps, the largest non-denominational Jewish volunteer organization on the continent, open exclusively to 18- to 28-year-olds. The only restriction? That they be single. (But they’re not singles events, he stresses. “We discourage that air of desperation.”)
JCorps volunteers meet, typically on Sundays, to feed the hungry at soup kitchens and food banks and entertain senior citizens at old-age homes and hospitals. Each volunteer receives a custom-designed JCorps shirt, free of charge. “People come for selfish reasons,” he says.
“You meet other people, make business connections and get something out of it.”
It’s Charity 2.0 at its best; call it “social volunteering.” After signing up for an event on JCorps.org, Teman and his volunteer team will “friend” you on Facebook or ask that you send a picture. “We want to make sure that you’re not a 40-year-old man,” he says. JCorps uses the same technology that powers Gmail, so the second time you come back to the site to volunteer again, the form will be filled out for you.
Only a year old, JCorps has thousands of volunteers from more than 115 colleges and 300 companies, and is active in almost every state (and more than 20 countries). Teman markets JCorps by posting pictures from past events on Facebook. “More than 30 percent of volunteers show up because they saw a friend’s picture.”
Teman, who owns a consulting firm called 12gurus, regularly puts into practice the Website design, technology savvy and problem-solving skills he gains on the job. Last May, he and his firm raised nearly $500,000 for Meir Panim with an online art auction and wine sale at www.sensi6.org.
He’s a comedian, too. Seriously. Teman is a regular at Broadway Comedy Club and Stand-Up New York. He’s organized several comedy nights to raise money for charity. Mailbox Full? Teman invented the patent-pending PhoneLobby, which connects supporter’s real phones via the Internet to their governmental representative. The “Calls for Jerusalem” campaign used his technology to direct more than 10,000 calls to the White House in support of Israel. It was so successful, the White House’s call center kept dropping calls.