Teens on the Jewish Community Foundation Youth Philanthropy Board have made $20,000 in grants to local agencies.  

This was the first year the board was split into two groups: seniors and freshmen in one and sophomores and juniors in the other; each group granted $10,000, so this year’s grants double the amount given in previous years. 

The senior-freshmen board chose to award grants to organizations providing treatment, education and/or awareness of cognitive, mental and/or physical disabilities and disorders.

Here are the organizations that received the grants, as well as the amounts that were granted to the specific programs:   

Cortney’s Place ($1,000): The grant is for Sensible Spenders, a program that teaches fundamental math and money skills to adults with mental and physical disabilities so they can handle, count, and budget money.  

Council for Jews with Special Needs ($2,500): The grant is the sole source of funding for the development and facilitation of a monthly social-skills play group, Yeladeem Children’s Social Group. The group is for Jewish children who have developmental delays and is staffed by professionals in the field of early-childhood and special education. 

“Receiving another grant from the B’nai Tzedek board signifies we are doing something right when the youth in our community wants us to continue doing our good work with children affected by various disabilities,” Amy Hummell, CJSN executive director, wrote in an email. “We are thrilled to have this continued support.”

Friendship Circle ($3,000): The grant provides funds for general program operations for the organization’s mission to engage children with special needs with typical Jewish teens and involve them in a range of Judaic, social and educational experiences.  

Gigi’s Playhouse ($2,500): The grant will allow seven children with Down syndrome diagnosis to participate in a 10-week, one-on-one literacy tutoring program.  

Horses Help Therapeutic Riding Center ($500): Funds will be used for arena resurfacing for Horses Help, which provides equine therapy to people with emotional, physical and intellectual disabilities from age 18 months to senior citizen.  

KEEN: Kids Enjoying Exercise Now ($500): The grant goes to general program operations for the organization, which provides fitness and recreation programming by pairing youths with disabilities with trained volunteers; the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center is one of KEEN’s program sites.  

In a commitment to helping local children, especially those most at-risk, the junior/sophomore board supported programs and partnerships that empower families and change lives, according to the release.

These are the organizations that received grants:                                

Arizona Helping Hands ($1,800): The grant helps fund the Helping Hands for Foster Kids program, which helps support foster families and children by assisting them with basic needs, such as beds, clothes, diapers, personal care items and birthday extras.  

Jewish Family & Children’s Service ($1,800): The grant funds the JFCS Real World Job Development Program, which provides workforce development training, GED preparation, and life-skills education to approximately 160 current or former foster care youth.  

National Alliance on Mental Illness, Valley of the Sun ($3,000): Through Family to Family Facilitator Training, the grant will fund training of 16 new family-to-family facilitators who will offer two new family-to-family programs, serving an estimated 50 families. The goal of the program is to improve the overall wellness of a family while positively affecting the recovery of the loved one with mental illness.  

Singleton Moms ($1,800): Funds are going to the Care Coordination Program, which provides comprehensive household support that is tailored to the immediate needs of single parents battling cancer; these include meals, toiletries, house cleaning, supplemental bill payment and rides to treatment.  

Swift Youth Foundation ($1,600): The grant will go toward camp scholarships for four children to attend the Camp Swift overnight summer program. 

“Swift Youth Foundation is grateful to have the support of the B’nai Tzedek Youth Philanthropy Board,” said Kaylie Marsh, the foundation’s executive director, via email. “The grant they provided to our organization will enable four more campers to attend Camp Swift this summer, and many of the members of the B’nai Tzedek Board will actually be volunteering at our camp, so they will be able to see the impact of their grant money firsthand.” 

The 40 youth philanthropy board members – 20 in each group – worked from August until April on this grant-making process and the final grants were approved by the Jewish Community Foundation board of directors at a May board meeting, according to Andrea Cohen, JCF youth philanthropy director. Grant checks are being presented to the different grant recipients by youth board members at the agencies’ May and June board meetings. The 2016-2017 Youth Philanthropy Board will begin work at a Sept. 21 board retreat. 

Teens interested in learning more about the program may contact Andrea Cohen, youth philanthropy director, at acohen@jcfphoenix.org.  


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