Over the past several years, Leket Israel has been fortunate to partner with the Jewish Community Youth Foundation (JCYF), a project of Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County (JFCS) in New Jersey. The goal of the project is to inspire local teens to invest in organizations that benefit the less fortunate, and to learn more about helping others. Program participants make a commitment to studying charity and Jewish nonprofit organizations. Additionally, the students are encouraged to visit the charities after graduation from JCYF when they visit Israel, to understand first-hand who their money is supporting.
With the hope of creating a model for educating the next generation of donors, the students invest a significant amount of time in the project to ensure that they are best utilizing their funds. Every year, the Foundation solicits proposals from a number of organizations. After reviewing the proposals, representatives from the charities are invited to speak about their work. This format provides the students with the opportunity to learn more about each organization and ask questions.
Celeste Albert, Coordinator of Teen Programs at JFCS, is pleased with the success of the program and the passion that the participants bring in selecting which nonprofits to support. “The purpose of this initiative from the JFCS perspective is to expose the students to nonprofit organizations and the philanthropic granting process. We hope the students connect with the organizations they research, and realize that the decisions they make are effecting real change.”
Since 2012, JCYF has awarded grants to Leket Israel totaling over $25,000. Their generous donations have supported meal rescue for at-risk teens and Project Leket, the gleaning initiative.
“It’s encouraging and inspiring to see the enthusiasm that the next generation has for helping others. We are proud to partner with Jewish Community Youth Foundation to continue to rescue nutritious food for those in need,” says Joseph Gitler, Founder and Chairman of Leket Israel. “Thanks to the generosity of these young people, we know that the future is in good hands.”