By Amy Friedman Cecil, Director of Community Engagement, Jewish World Watch
March 2019 would be a frantic time for me at work with our two annual community fundraisers (the Walks to End Genocide) back to back. I knew from long experience that I would be working seven days a week without any break or hope of one. Then I saw the announcement of this year’s JTFN Summit and I knew that somehow I had to make it work. This was one conference I was not going to miss.
Why was the experience so valuable to me? Wearing one of my many Jewish World Watch hats, I have written numerous grant proposals and received funding over the years from several teen philanthropy groups. My presentations to teen boards have been eye opening and I have seen firsthand the thoughtfulness and sophistication with which the teens approach their task of selecting the organizations to fund.
One of my other hats is educator. In this function I have created and continue to spearhead JWW’s Teen Ambassador Program (TAP), a leadership focused program through which teens learn about genocide and mass atrocities, advocacy and JWW’s actions on-the-ground in conflict areas. While the program was planned initially as a one-year event, my teens were demanding more. Teen Philanthropy felt like the logical and best next step.
The Summit was everything I had hoped for and more. The breadth of the attendees was inspiring (I loved making new friends from Israel and China!), the workshops were instructive and stimulating (I have already “appropriated” many of the things I learned) and my trip to Urban Adamah blew me away and contributed to my summer camp program design.
One of the best things about the Summit was its networking component. My new colleagues have already shared their curriculums, invited my teens to participate long distance in some projects, and have offered to spend telephone time brainstorming next steps. I am thrilled to begin the planning for JWW’s venture into teen philanthropy and know that I have a plethora of resources and a wide and delightful list of new friends who can help my program succeed.
Amy is the Director of Community Engagement for Jewish World Watch. A former public and religious school teacher and practicing attorney for more than 25 years, she joined JWW professionally in 2012 after many years as a devoted volunteer, event docent and volunteer facilitator. She obtained her MBA in Nonprofit Development from American Jewish University in 2013.
Amy is Senior Staff lead for all aspects of JWW’s education, outreach, and awareness building programs, writes grant proposals, speaks frequently throughout Los Angeles on topics of genocide and mass atrocities and what we can do as global citizens to help those affected by its consequences (displacement, hunger, lack of education, violence) and has primary responsibility for the annual Walks to End Genocide. Passionate about education, Amy created and leads the Teen Ambassador Program (TAP), a leadership development program for high school students. Teen Philanthropy is her new venture and she is incredibly inspired by JTFN’s work.