How to give away $10,000? It’s a lot of work, U-Md. Students learn

Posted on May 10, 2010

The Washington Post had a great article this morning on a philanthropy course at the University of Maryland. As part of the class the students had to give away $10,000. A few observations:

  • The college students followed the same model we use in Jewish teen philanthropy programs.
  • I have said in the past that Jewish teen philanthropy programs teach valuable life long skills. The fact that colleges are now following this model is another way to illustrate the importance and impact of such programs and should be used to highlight them in the organized Jewish community.
  • We should show participants in Jewish teen philanthropy programs this article so they can see how novel, cool and advanced this type pf program this is.
  • Many universities are offering these courses and starting philanthropy programs only now. However, some communities have had Jewish teen philanthropy programs for years. The Jewish community is a leader in the field and this is something we should highlight and celebrate.
  • Perhaps participants in Jewish teen philanthropy programs can receive college credit.
  • Because Jewish teen philanthropy programs have been successful throughout the country, have engaged thousands and impacted them profoundly Jewish funders and foundations should further support these programs.
  • In philanthropy programs participants always opt in. The participants in these programs are a self selecting group and we need to understand that they are unique and are not meant for the masses.
  • These programs are leadership programs. Regardless of whether or not they are billed as leadership programs – I believe they should be- the participants are leaders from their schools and community and as participants they gain invaluable leadership skills.
  • These courses and programs are transformative. The lessons students and participants learn impact their knowledge, behavior, giving and communal involvement for the rest of their lives.
  • These observations apply to middle school, high school, college and beyond. Look at any teen philanthropy program, giving circle or places like Natan and Slingshot and you will see that the people participating opt in, are leaders and that the experience is transformative for them and for around them.

If this field is new to you and/or if you want to learn more about bringing this sort of program to your community please join Areyvut next month for a Seminar on Jewish Teen Philanthropy.

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