Jewish Teen Funders Network Launches Teen Foundations at 20 Summer Camps

New York, March 6, 2012 – The Jewish Teen Funders Network (JTFN), a youth philanthropy project of the Jewish Funders Network, has awarded grants to 20 summer camps from across denominational lines and around North America. As participants in the Camping Pilot Program, these grantees will receive $1,500 and leadership training to develop high-quality teen philanthropy programs.

Recognizing the potential of Jewish youth philanthropy programs to empower and educate teens about effective philanthropy and Jewish values, JTFN will work closely with grantees on program development and staff training. Summer camps from around the Jewish community demonstrated overwhelming interest in the pilot program, with twice as many applications as slots available.

Through the JTFN Camping Pilot Program, each of the 20 participating summer camps will create a Jewish teen foundation, in which campers will work together as a “foundation board,” giving away real money to non-profit organizations of their choosing. Throughout the grantmaking process, in which the participants will review grant proposals from non-profit organizations, make site visits to potential grantees, and determine which organizations to support, the philanthropists-in-training will examine Jewish texts, traditions, and values related to giving. The pilot program encourages campers to “learn by giving” and will generate at least $20,000 in grants, with each teen foundation awarding a minimum of $1,000 in grants. The pilot program is generously supported by the Maimonides Fund.

The Camping Pilot Program is built on the foundation that JTFN has built over the past five years in establishing the field of Jewish teen philanthropy. Since 2003, more than 50 Jewish teen foundations have been founded across North America in day schools, religious schools, synagogues, social service agencies, local Jewish Federations and Jewish community foundations. In preparation for this pilot, JTFN conducted two rounds of pre-pilot programming with the following camps: Camp Galil, JCC Maccabi Kingswood, URJ Camp George, and URJ Greene Family Camp, and the Ramah Philanthropy Initiative (engaging six Ramah camps).