(JTA) — Jewish teens in a program for budding philanthropists donated more than $1 million during the 2015-16 school year, with nearly two-thirds going to Jewish organizations.
The donations, which were given to 300 recipients, came from about 1,700 teens organized in 50 groups known as “teen foundations.” The total was some $100,000 higher than in 2013-14, according to the Jewish Teen Funders Network, which supports giving among teens in the United States and around the world. Two years earlier, according to the network, teens gave about $950,000 in total.
According to a report published this month by the network, a program of the Jewish Funders Network,$675,000 went to Jewish groups, about 65 percent of the total — compared to $551,000 in 2013-14. Sixty percent of the donations went to local groups, 22 percent to groups in Israel, 13 percent to international groups and 5 percent to national groups. The plurality of donations focused on social justice and education.
“That’s a reflection that teens are continuing to develop their identities,” said Briana Holtzman, the network’s director, referring to the increase in giving to Jewish groups. “They can give to the Jewish community and they can serve those outside of the Jewish community. There’s a real focus on the conversation, on challenging our teens to grapple with who they are.”
The various teen funders projects take place at schools, camps, Jewish federations and community foundations. Participants usually sign up for a year or more of workshops in Judaics and philanthropy, site visits to nonprofits in North America and Israel and meetings in which teens discuss ways to pool and divide their gifts.