Tag Archives: tzedakah

Nursery school students help repair the world

Our President Ruth Messinger met with some adorable, charitable four-year-old students at the Saul and Carole Zabar Nursery School at the JCC in Manhattan this morning to thank them for their generous contribution to our Nepal Earthquake Emergency Relief Fund.

The students organized a bake sale last week after learning about the devastating Nepal earthquake, raising more than $1,000 for our Nepal Fund!

The students presented the donation to Ruth at the JCC this morning. She taught them about AJWS’s work in Nepal, thanked the students personally, and explained how each of them played a small but meaningful part in helping those in desperate need across the world.

Check out the adorable photos and the video below from Ruth’s visit.


Thank you to the amazing JCC Manhattan Nursery School for your generous donation to our Nepal Earthquake Emergency Relief Fund!

RuthJCC3 image1

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Giving By Design with Karen Pittelman

Karen Pittelman

Originally published on the blog of Pursue: Action for a Just World.

On June 20, Pursuers will join AJWS and Global Circle to see the winning entries from the Where Do You Give? National Design Competition and engage with innovative speakers about giving in the 21st century. As a preview to the event, we asked speaker Karen Pittelman to share her personal approach to giving. Read the interview below and click here to see Karen’s full bio and register for the event.

How did you first become involved in issues of philanthropy and privilege?

I was in college when I realized that if I truly believed that the distribution of wealth was unjust, I had to do something about my three million dollar trust fund. After a long process with my family, at 25 I was able to gain control over the trust and dissolve it to form the Chahara Foundation. I worked together with a group of amazing women activists, lead by Chahara’s director Deahdra Butler Henderson, to establish the fund. Then I transitioned out and transferred all decision-making power over to them. To me what was most important was not redistributing the money but redistributing the powerover the money. Over the course of nine years, ending in 2008 when the board finished spending down, the fund gave grants to grassroots groups in Boston led by and for, in the foundation’s words, “women and girls who have known poverty and may still be intimate with its ravages… in their endeavors to reshape community to allow for a higher economic, creative and spiritual quality of life.” Read More »

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What’s So 21st Century About Tzedakah?

Originally posted on the Global Circle blog.

We know there just aren’t enough gallery openings in NYC these days, which is why we’re hosting one just for you.

Earlier this year AJWS launched the Where Do you Give? National Design Competition, challenging artists to create new vehicles for giving tzedakah that reflect our increasingly interconnected, global and technologically accelerated world.

Philanthropy doesn’t look like it used to in our parents’ day. Not only are there an infinite number of organizations to choose from, donations have moved beyond snail mail and checks and have even entered the mobile world.

So, how do you know where to give and how to give? The world is quite your oyster, but join us on June 20th at the 92YTribeca as we kick off the national exhibit of the winning designs from the competition and discuss what it means to give in the 21st century!

Click here to learn more about the event and RSVP.


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What Does “Jewish Philanthropy” Mean for the Next Generation of Jewish Leaders?

Cross-posted on the Global Circle blog.

I enjoyed reading Sandy Cardin’s piece in eJewishPhilanthropy about the future of Jewish giving. Cardin notes that, historically, philanthropy has been associated with giving away money. Younger generations, however, want to expand the definition to include the giving of time, energy and passion. Cardin writes: “Jews are among those at the nerve center of this growing movement of young people who do not just want to pay to build the trenches – they actually want to work in them.” He argues that this is a good thing; that Jewish institutions must adapt and respond to this demand; that the future of Jewish philanthropy should include the giving of time and money – “the best of both worlds.”

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3 Things the Philanthropic World Can’t Stop Talking About

Originally posted on the blog of Where Do You Give?

On February 3, 2012 the Yale School of Management held its 7th Annual Conference on Philanthropy: “Beyond Best Practices: Financing and Implementing Social Change.” The conference highlighted discussions that have been ricocheting around the philanthropy sector and there a few we just can’t get out of our heads:

1. Blended Value
Jed Emerson, Executive Vice President of Strategic Development at ImpactAssets, challenged us to break down the often held but paralyzing idea that we each have two choices in life—“do well or do good”—and there can be no way to do both. Emerson, along with a growing number of people who straddle the financial and philanthropic worlds, believes overlap is powerful and the way to create dynamic, sustainable social change is to explore “blended value”—how we can do well and do good. Emerson describes his idea of “blended value” in this way:

Value is what gets created when investors invest and organizations act to pursue their mission. Traditionally, we have thought of value as being either economic (and created by for-profit companies) or social (and created by nonprofit or non-governmental organizations). What the Blended Value Proposition states is that all organizations, whether for-profit or not, create value that consists of economic, social and environmental value components—and that investors (whether market-rate, charitable or some mix of the two) simultaneously generate all three forms of value through providing capital to organizations. Read More »

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What Would Rambam Think About Donorschoose.org?

Originally posted on the blog of Where Do You Give?

In today’s world, the opportunity to engage in the work of social change is, literally, at our fingertips.  But, does this newfound accessibility make us better donors? Adene Sacks and Dawne Bear Novicoff talk about our role as donors in an age of interconnectedness and independence:

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Sh** Jews Say About Philanthropy

In celebration of AJWS’s “Where Do You Give” Design Competition, and in honor of the successful slew of “Sh** People Say” videos, we present:

Sh** Jews Say About Philanthropy… brought to you by members of the AJWS staff:

“Yes, dear, it has to be in multiples of 18.”

“I shouldn’t talk about it on Shabbos, but…”

“Is it Super Sunday? Again?”

“… and so your Uncle Morrie finally made it to America. And that is why we give money every year to those going through tough times.”

“Why get them something off the registry when we could get them a mezuzah? Everybody needs a mezuzah!” Read More »

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Everyone is a Philanthropist

Originally posted on Pursue: Action for a Just World and cross-posted on eJewishPhilanthropy.

How do you make giving meaningful? Tzedakah, the Jewish commitment to righteous giving, is something that most people are familiar with. Tzedakah boxes are things of childhood memory for many Jews, except me. I tithed. Growing up with a Baptist mother, a Methodist father and educated in Catholic schools, the idea of giving charity was not lost on me. I can remember my mother reaching into her pocket book every Sunday morning to fish out crisp dollar bills for my sister and I to put in the collection plate that was passed around. I don’t remember what it felt like to put that money in the shiny gold plate, because it wasn’t my money.

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Top Five Reasons to Give to AJWS in 2011

As 2011 comes to a close, we’re making a case for giving to AJWS at the end of the year. So, without further ado, here are the top five reasons to give a year-end tax-deductible gift to AJWS today:

1. Your generous contribution will change the lives of some of the world’s most marginalized people. In 2011 we impacted communities in 32 countries, promoting human rights, advancing food justice and fighting HIV/AIDS. Your support will really make a difference to those in need.

2. We’re the only Jewish organization exclusively dedicated to this kind of tikkun olam — healing the world — in developing countries. Our approach to creating change is deeply rooted in Jewish tradition and sources. Read More »

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On the 2nd Night of Chanukah: Turning Family Tradition Into Lifelong Passion

Originally posted on the blog of Where Do You Give?

September 1997: I am sitting with my family on the soft, beige carpet in the family room ready to begin our annual tradition. Index cards are lined up in front of us: “Hunger in Africa” “Literacy in America” “Homelessness in Mountain View, CA.” My parents hand my brother and me each $1,000 in small bills (monopoly money, of course). We then spend the rest of the afternoon talking about the different issues we could support and how much money we want to donate to each. Once all the money is spread out among the index cards, my brother and I run into our rooms to grab our tzedakah boxes. We pour the coins that we have been collecting all year onto the carpet. As we meticulously count the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, my parents calculate the percentages that will go to each organization based on what we allocated with our monopoly money. As our tzedakah boxes lie empty on the carpet, I know it is time to start setting aside my money for the next year.

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