Once in a Lifetime

by Simon Kaufman

January 8, 2012. Tebow drops back in the pocket, finds a receiver downfield, he throws. It’s caught. Thomas at the twenty, the ten … Broncos touchdown! The Broncos win! The Broncos beat the Steelers!

I could have been there; I could have been among the fans that witnessed the Broncos’ miracle playoff win this year. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I missed because on that Sunday night I had a Rose Youth Foundation meeting.

I was not among the screaming fans when Tebow’s throw was caught. Instead I sat at a board room table with 22 other high school students. We only found out about the result of the game when someone updated us via their iPhone. The celebration in the boardroom lasted only a minute.

Instead of being amongst 60,000 fans I was amongst 23 teens. Instead of getting excited each time Denver moved the ball down the field, we passionately discussed how we would narrow our funding priorities. I didn’t sit around a television watching every play while cheering with friends. I sat around a table with a small group analyzing the different problems our grantmaking could address and which organization provided the best solution to these problems. I didn’t hear fans scream on each successful play, instead I heard a small round of applause after our group reached consensus on the grant priorities we would set.

I wasn’t at the game, I was in the Rose Community Foundation board room and I didn’t need to see an 80-yard overtime touchdown pass to make me believe in miracles. I simply had to look around. There sat a group of teens, all Jewish – yet all from very different backgrounds – who all shared a common goal: an interest in making their community better. Rose Youth Foundation is a miracle; it’s a Hail Mary pass that has created winners throughout the community for the last eleven years. Rose Youth Foundation fields a team that is capable of tackling any problem. We research areas of concern in our community, find possible solutions, and fund the very best ones – all while keeping in mind the goals of Jewish giving.

That night I wasn’t with 60,000 fans. I was with 22 other teens making $60,000 worth of differences. And I wouldn’t trade that once-in-a-lifetime experience for anything.

Simon Kaufman served as a member of Rose Youth Foundation, an initiative of Rose Community Foundation for the past three years. Simon is a recent graduate of the Denver Jewish Day School and this fall he will be a freshman at the University of Michigan.