Local | Philanthropy & Family Finance

Tucson’s Jewish teen philanthropy program to begin 7th year

Give a little … Change a lot. That is the motto of the B’nai Tzdek Tucson teen philanthropy program, which will have its annual kickoff event Sunday, Sept. 9, 1-3 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

Teens contribute $180 to a B’nai Tzedek Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona (subsidized participation available). Once a year teens pick a nonprofit for their annual distribution of $36, which is matched by the Jewish Community Foundation, giving them a total donation of $72 to an organization of their choice.

“Many times teens think that in order to make a difference in their community, they need to give a lot: a lot of time, a lot of money, and then they might not give at all,” says Rosi Vogel, program coordinator for the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, which administers B’nai Tzedek in partnership with the Jewish Community Foundation. At B’nai Tzedek, she says, “we all learn that even the smallest gift of time or money makes a big difference.”

“Our teens already care about the world in which they live,” Vogel adds. “They just need direction. B’nai Tzedek helps them to find a way to make a difference.”

The local chapter, which was started in 2006, won an Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2009. To date, approximately 150 Jewish teens have joined B’nai Tzedek Tucson, impacting the community through volunteer work in addition to their annual distributions to nonprofits across the globe. In past years, teens have made donations to organizations ranging from local synagogues to Doctors Without Borders and Sustainable Schools International.

The kickoff event, which is free, is open to Jewish teens in grades 8 through 12 and their parents. For more information and to RSVP, contact Vogel at 577-9393 or rvogel@jfsa.org.