The Jewish Teen Foundation of Greater Boston (JTFGB) is a community program based at Hebrew College. JTFGB is now in its third year and part of the Foundation Board Incubator, which is a project of the Jewish Teen Funders Network, generously funded by Laura Lauder and the Maimonides Fund.
JTFGB provides Jewish teens within the greater Boston area the opportunity to put their Jewish values (such as tikkun olam and tzedakah) into practice in a group setting and instills within its participants the skills that should set a life-long pattern of activism and philanthropy. The program participants engage in an in-depth examination of social justice issues and profound discussions while viewing different things through a Jewish lens. This year’s program is made up 72 diverse teens from over 20 towns and different high schools split up amongst three boards.
JTFGB essentially creates real foundation boards as it gives the teens the power and teaches the necessary skills for them to run them throughout the year; this is a program built solely on their ideas, opinions, and decisions from start to finish. At their first board meeting, they choose an issue area to focus on for the year (which is certainly overwhelming given the myriad of issues the world is facing today), learn about non-profits, request for proposals, grant proposals and how to evaluate them, fundraising, go on site visits to different agencies, and eventually allocating money (that they have individually solicited and raised) to various nonprofits of their choice—all while experiencing firsthand how the grant-making cycle works and philanthropy is applied to real life. This is really a program that is made for a specific type of teen—someone who is truly dedicated and wants to make a positive change in this world. The teens that apply for and participate in this program are intellectually stimulating and have so much passion.