Introducing “Tzedaka’s Present,” a column addressing today’s pioneering thinking and revolutionary tools to maximize and innovate the eternal Jewish Mitzvah of Tzedaka. From sophisticated technology to viral events, Moshe Hecht, a philanthropy futurist and Chief Innovation Officer of Charidy, will address a unique angle bi-weekly, raising the most elevating Mitzvah of all.

The universe stands upon three pillars, three columns, Torah, Avodah (Work), and Gemilas Chassadim (Act of Kindness). This column will explore the foundational pillar of Kind Acts.

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By Moshe Hecht

We have been giving Tzedaka for thousands of years. Since the building of the Mishkan 3330 years ago, when every single Jew contributed his or her part, we the Jewish people have formalized and instituted the art of giving. Ingrained into our individual and collective psyches, contributing our hard earn money for higher causes, the betterment of community, and the love of our fellow man has become second nature.

Whether feeding the hungry, funding educational institutions, paying for a wedding, or sponsoring an event, we give and give and give.

Today, with G-D’s many gifts, the giving possibilities are too numerous to count. And so are the challenges: where should I give my money? How to maximize impact? How to leverage the tools at my disposal?

With the convergence of a few factors, I believe that G-D has positioned us for a Tzedaka revolution. These factors are our blessed freedoms, increasing affluence, unprecedented technology, and the instant ability to broadcast positivity across the globe.

This column, “Tzedaka’s Present,” aims to explore some of the people, tools, and ideas that are maximizing and innovating this eternal Jewish Mitzvah.

For much of our history, we were running for our lives, fighting simply to survive. The luxury to stop and think about optimized giving just did not exist. If our grandparents had, they shared what they could; if they didn’t, they begged, prayed, and hoped.

Today, our freedoms offer opportunity. Today, we can choose to shape a better today and greater tomorrow. Today is called the present because it is a gift.

For the first time in history, one could quite literally reach millions of people with the click of a button. A wedding in Jerusalem could fundraise from Miami. A family struggling with a medical emergency in Cedarhurst could run a campaign that touches the community in Melbourne. And people who up until five seconds ago never heard of a certain Hebrew Day School could now make an $18 donation from the phone in their pockets. Thanks to technology, community is no longer demarcated geographically, but is local and global simultaneously. Glo-cal as I like to call it.

Our generation is blessed with unfathomable potential, but it also faces unprecedented challenges. This column exists to harness our timeless legacy of Tzedaka and inspire a new generation of givers. The present moment does not suffer reactive thinking but proactive doing. We either shape the future or be shaped by the future. We here choose to be movers and shapers.

In this column, the traditional philanthropist will discover new and exciting ways to give, methods and means to make a gift achieve more. In these bi-weekly words, we will unlock the power of one person, how an individual today could literally transform the landscape by trailblazing a worthy cause or supporting one.

This column is for a child deciding how to allocate her allowance, a teenager desiring to do good with his Bar Mitzvah money, or a grandparent mega philanthropist seeking to catalyze communal giving. And everyone in between.

In the weeks to come, I look forward to delving into the details of the mind-blowing and world-changing ways that giving today could give us more than ever.

More than charity, Tzedaka, is righteousness, doing the right thing. It is one of the columns supporting and upholding our universe. This column aspires to do its small part in helping support the world’s supporters, ultimately upholding a bright and prosperous universe.

I humbly present, Tzedaka’s present, the greatest present of all.

Moshe Hecht is a philanthropy futurist, public speaker and chief innovation officer of Charidy, a crowdfunding platform and consulting company that has helped 2000 organizations raise over a half billion dollars. Moshe is an accomplished entrepreneur whose passion lies at the intersection of technology and charitable giving. His articles have been published publications such as Forbes, Nonprofit Quarterly and eJewishPhilanthropy. When Moshe is not at the office, he is writing music and enjoying downtime with his wife and three redheaded children.

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