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Teens JTFGB Kicks off Fundraising Campaigns for Disaster Relief and Access to Food and Water

By Bridget Connor-Feldbaum
jtfgb students at tables

On Sunday, January 8th, teen board members of Hebrew College’s Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston got together to build their fundraising skills and kick off their campaigns—focusing their philanthropic efforts on the causes of disaster relief and access to food and water in 2023.

This was the first JTFGB gathering in Hebrew College’s new home on Washington Street in Newton. The teens gathered to learn about fundraising from development professionals in the nonprofit sector and to immediately put their skills to use in raising funds for their campaigns. Teens from all over the Boston area and beyond—as far as Longmeadow in Western Massachusetts—participate in the program, which teaches philanthropy through a Jewish lens. Through a consensus process, they select issue areas to focus on, and write their own mission statement connecting their Jewish values to their chosen cause.

Rosa Franck, the director of development at Hebrew College, shared her story of beginning her fundraising career in college, making phone calls to alumnae of her alma mater, UMass Amherst, to solicit donations. There, she learned the importance of letting your passion for the organization’s mission shine through—your energy is contagious. Karen Silverman, the chief advancement officer at Jewish Family & Children’s Service, spoke about her guiding belief that by inviting people to donate, she is giving them a gift by enabling them to perform a mitzvah.

Reflecting on what he learned from the speakers, teen board member Noah Kesselman said, “There is not one correct way to fundraise. There are a lot of different factors to take into account which will help you decide how you are going to do it. I am really excited, as this is something I have never done before.”

“Fundraising can be fun, and not stressful if you make it,” added teen board member Olivia Frank.

Working in small fundraising groups to support and encourage each other, the teen board members got out their phones and began to reach out to their contacts, sharing in their own words why their selected causes matter so much to them as young Jewish philanthropists. Excitement built in the room as donations began to come in. In less than an hour after their campaign opened, the teens collectively raised over two thousand dollars.

The JTFGB fundraising campaign will continue through May 15, after which point, they will work together to select how to allocate the funds to nonprofit organizations that submit grant proposals to JTFGB.

Find and give to JTFGB Board 1’s campaign raising funds for disaster relief here.

Find and give to JTFGB Board 2’s campaign raising funds for access to food and water here.

JTFGB is a year-long program for Jewish high school students with different denominational backgrounds from across the greater Boston area. Together, they develop strong leadership and communication skills, learn the ins and outs of professional philanthropy and grant-making through a Jewish lens, and allocate grants to effect real change in the causes they care about most. Learn more on our website

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