Saltzman Youth Panel Grants $45,000 for Community Needs

Tags: Federation, Teens

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CLEVELAND – 24 Jewish high school juniors and seniors from public and private high schools across Cleveland have come together to recommend grants totaling $45,000 to 16 organizations for crucial programs in the Jewish and general community through the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s 2021-2022 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 is designed to help educate the next generation of Jewish community leadership, a passion of Maurice Saltzman, who was a past board chair of the Federation. Each year, a new Saltzman Youth Panel allocates up to $50,000 to worthy organizations – 85% of which are awarded to programs serving the Jewish community and 15% awarded to non-profit programs serving the general community. Through this experience, the participants learn about the philanthropic process and responding to community needs.

“This generous gift from the Saltzman Family has been impressive as more than 800 young leaders have been engaged as panelists and have learned about philanthropy and tikkun olam since 2000,” said J. David Heller, Federation board chair. “On behalf of the Federation leadership team, I want to thank all of this year’s panelist for their incredible leadership. We have wonderful young leaders in our community.”

Panelists Maya Eisengart, a junior at Beachwood High School, Zachary Honig, a senior at Shaker Heights High School, and Katie Rusnak, a senior at Shaker Heights High School, presented the panel’s recommendations to the Federation’s Board of Trustees on May 23, 2022. Recommendations from the panel were unanimously approved by the board.

Among the grants were: $4,000 to Cleveland Chesed Center toward school supplies for disadvantaged kids; $4,000 to Jewish Agency for Israel – North American Council for summer camps in Israel that bolster Ethiopian immigrants’ academic performance, social skills, and Hebrew proficiency; and $1,250 to Linking Employment Abilities & Potential toward providing needed resources for individuals to return home after a hospital or nursing home stay.

Prior to the Board of Trustees meeting, panelists and their families gathered for a reception to celebrate their accomplishments. Federation President Erika B. Rudin-Luria 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.

Panelists, selected through a competitive application process, met eight 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. Three alumni also joined the 2021-2022 panelists as Saltzman Youth Panel Peer Advisors, mentoring their peers and ensuring that panelists are part of the communal decision-making process.

To nominate a rising high school junior or senior for the 2022-2023 Saltzman Youth Panel, please contact Anna Novik at anovik@jewishcleveland.org or 216-593-2844. Application deadline is Friday, August 5, 2022.

Learn More: Federation, Teens