Jewish Teens Grant $44,000 for Community Needs

Tags: Federation, PR, Teens

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Jewish teenagers made up the Saltzman Youth Panel to decide on grants for community needs.

Forty Jewish high school juniors and seniors representing public and private high schools across Cleveland have come together to recommend grants totaling $44,000 to 14 organizations for crucial programs in the Jewish and general community through the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s 2017-2018 Maurice Saltzman Youth Panel.

Saltzman Youth Panel was established in 1998 through a generous gift from Shirley Saltzman (z”l) and her family in memory of the late Maurice Saltzman (z”l). The program perpetuates the goals of Maurice Saltzman, a past president of the Federation who cared deeply about educating the next generation of Jewish community leadership. Each year, a new Saltzman Youth Panel makes decisions to allocate up to $50,000 to worthy organizations – 85% of which are awarded to programs serving the Jewish community. The other 15% is awarded to non-profit programs serving the general community. Through this process, the participants learn about the philanthropic process and responding to community needs.

Panelists Carly Stewart, Jonah Ross and Zoey Zelman presented the panel’s recommendations to the Federation’s Board of Trustees on May 9, 2018. Recommendations from the panel were unanimously approved by the board.

“This process has taught me that while working with others can be challenging in the moment, in the end we all were acting in the best interest of our community,” said David Mack, a senior at Shaker Heights High School, during a personal reflection at the panel’s final reception before the board meeting. “I have built decision making skills and friendships that I will keep for many years. I look forward to seeing the impact our work has on our community and continuing my work as a philanthropist.”

Among the grants were $6,000 to the Hebrew Shelter Home for supportive technology for clients, $6,000 to the Mandel JCC for companion counselors for summer campers with special needs, $5,000 to the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage for the Holocaust Survivor Memory Project, $2,500 toward mentors for at-risk youth in Cleveland’s sister city of Beit Shean, Israel, and $1,200 to Circle Health Services (formerly the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland) for the Teen Clinic and Outreach Education program.

Prior to the Board of Trustees meeting, panel members and their families gathered for a reception to celebrate their accomplishments. Federation President Stephen H. Hoffman congratulated the group on their successful collaboration and philanthropic spirit. Panelists commented on how much they learned about community needs, evaluation of grant proposals and the struggle to prioritize needs when resources are limited.

Panel members, selected through a competitive application process, met seven times throughout the school year. They created a Request for Proposals, reviewed grant applications, learned about consensus decision making and, in the end, had a tremendous impact on programs and organizations which improve the lives of others.

For information about submitting nominations or obtaining an application for the 2018-19 Saltzman Youth Panel, please contact program coordinator Leora Lanzola at llanzola@jcfcleve.org or 216-593-2798. Application deadline is September 5, 2018.

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