Saltzman Youth Panel Grants $45,000 for Community Needs

Tags: Federation, Teens

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35 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 2023-2024 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’s, who was a past board chair of the Federation. Each year, a new Saltzman Youth Panel allocates up to $45,000 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 year’s panel shows incredible initiative and a sense of responsibility for our local and global Jewish community,” said Daniel N. Zelman, Federation board chair. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the Saltzman family for their foresight and generosity in perpetuating the legacy of Maurice Saltzman. This endowment fund will continue to have a meaningful impact on future leaders for years to come.”

Panelists Abby Brown, Alyssa Feldman, Elianna Goldish, and Rachel Wolf presented the panel’s recommendations to the Federation’s Board of Trustees on May 9, 2024. Recommendations from the panel were unanimously approved by the board.

Among the grants were: $4,000 to Bellefaire JCB for at-risk, struggling families and youth who are experiencing crisis; $4,000 to Jewish Agency for Israel for the Fund for Victims of Terror; and $2,000 to Family Promise of Greater Cleveland for essential hygiene kits for unhoused families.

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. One alumni, Caitlin Hillman, also joined the 2023-2024 panelists as Saltzman Youth Panel Peer Advisor, mentoring her peers and ensuring that panelists are part of the communal decision-making process.

To nominate a rising high school junior or senior for the 2024-2025 Saltzman Youth Panel, please contact Lauren Henkin at lhenkin@jewishcleveland.org. Application deadline is Monday, June 3, 2024.

Learn More: Federation, Teens