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From Dollars to Sense, Tips from Jewish teen philanthropists

The JTFN Youth Ambassador Council is a group of Jewish teen philanthropists who are passionate about making the world a better place. They meet virtually throughout the year to dicuss their programs and what it's like to be a Jewish teen in today's philanthropic society.

They have bestowed their wisdom on how you too can become the best philanthropist you can be, and how to navigate through difficult situations in the board room in 2018. 

In order to be a good Jewish philanthropist you need…

Layton Rosenfeld

Oregon Jewish Community Youth Foundation

“… To know your Jewish values and apply them to your decisions.”

Sara Blau

Teen Philanthropic Leadership Council at the UJA Federation of New York

“… To be appreciative of all donations, no matter the size.”

Shayna Glazer

Jewish Teen Foundation at the Jewish Community Foundation San Diego

“… To understand that philanthropy is something greater than just a warm feeling in your stomach. Philanthropy needs to be seen as your duty in the Jewish Community. Donations from generation to generation help to keep our core group as a Jewish family together and unite us all with the common thread of tzedakah.”

Carly Colen

Voices: The Chicago Jewish Teen Foundation Alumni

“… To be dedicated to the causes you are supporting.”

Carly Shocket

Columbus Jewish Youth Foundation

“… To take into account both the values of Judaism and the principles of giving. To be successful you must balance them in harmony.”


How did you overcome the challenges you’ve had in your giving experiences?

Samson Cantor

Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston

“One of my greatest challenges in my giving experiences has been fundraising and encouraging others to give. I overcame this by encouraging people to connect with the issue in the same way I have, and so by encouraging this connection, I was able to connect people to issues that I am passionate about.”

Joshua Drossman

Jewish Community Youth Foundation

“Learning to understand how differently people can view a single topic and work around it. It takes a lot of patience and listening, but I see now that different experiences learn each of us to development different views and prioritized certain values.”

Dylan Hurok

Teen Giving Project at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

“I think it is valuable to see all sides of the philanthropy process from fundraising, to receiving grant proposals, to then deciding which programs to fund.”

Natalie Korach

Saltzman Youth Panel at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland

“By far the most difficult is coming to consensus with other people. When your own values come in conflict with others it makes it extremely hard to know whether you’re doing the right thing. This is overcome by practice.”

Brandon Gerardi

No Small Change at the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Greater Palm Beach

“One of the greatest challenges in my giving experiences was figuring out a good way to explain what you’re giving money towards. Of course, if it’s something you’re passionate about explaining it may seem simple. However, very often it is hard for the person to whom you’re talking to comprehend why they should help a cause that you feel passionately about. After many attempts at this process and talks with the leaders of my giving experiences, I figured out what I had to do. One thing to always add in is personal anecdotes. This will help you explain the exact reason why you care so much. Also, explain exactly what the donor’s money will go towards, the more specific the better.”

Jacob Miller

Youth Philanthropy Board at the  Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix

“One of the greatest challenges in my giving experience has been removing my own personal biases in order to follow our mission statement.”

Photos courtesy of The Teen Giving Project at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia