Saltzman Youth Panel Grants $47,000 For Community Needs

Tags: Federation, youth, Day Schools

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Thirty nine Jewish high school juniors and seniors representing public and private high schools across Cleveland have come together to recommend grants totaling $47,000 to 13 organizations for crucial programs in the Jewish and general community through the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s 2018-2019 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 board chair of the Federation who cared deeply about educating the next generation of Jewish community leadership. 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. The other 15% is awarded to non-profit programs serving the general community. Through this experience, the participants learn about the philanthropic process and responding to community needs.

Panelists Carly Petti and Danny Ecker presented the panel’s recommendations to the Federation’s Board of Trustees on May 30, 2019. Recommendations from the panel were unanimously approved by the board.

“Not only did I get to understand what philanthropy truly means, I was able to experience it,” said Lena Leland, a Junior at Beachwood High School, during a personal reflection at the panel’s final reception before the board meeting. “Participating in Saltzman Youth Panel changed this idea of helplessness for me. Surrounded by 38 young people so passionate about helping others, so passionate about making a difference, it helped me remember that the feeling of helplessness is just that – a feeling. None of us are helpless – we can all make a change.”

Among the grants were: $6,000 to the Cleveland Hillel Foundation for an Interfaith Shabbat of Remembrance to offer Case Western Reserve University students of all faiths an opportunity to engage with local Holocaust survivors in an intimate and informal environment; $4,000 to the Jewish Agency for Israel for Aliyah of Rescue for Children to bring children from around the world who are living in grave danger to safety in Israel; $3,000 to Jewish Family Service Association to upgrade an outdated kitchen in one of JFSA's residential homes to provide a safe space for residents with disabilities to engage in food preparation and increase independence; and $2,500 to Family Promise of Greater Cleveland for Pack N' Plays and bedding for homeless children.

Prior to the Board of Trustees meeting, panel members 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.

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.

To nominate a rising high school junior or senior for the 2019-2020 Saltzman Youth Panel, please contact Rebecca Sattin at rsattin@jcfcleve.org or 216-593-2873. Application deadline is September 5, 2019.

Learn More: Federation, youth, Day Schools