JCF Youth Leader Teaches Summer Class on Strategic Philanthropy in New York
“Philanthropy is strategic grantmaking.” The paramount goal of the class he facilitated is to teach 10th through 12th graders how their personal values should inform and direct their philanthropy.
Leaders at the URJ Kutz Camp for Reform Jewish teens asked Scott Rubenstein, now a high school senior, to facilitate their summer 2014 class on philanthropy.
“Kutz Camp created the course content,” explains Scott, “and I was brought on to facilitate the class because of my background serving on the Jewish Community Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Board and the Foundation’s Grants Committee here in Phoenix.”
At Kutz Camp, located 50 miles outside of New York City, teens take classes in a variety of majors and minors, including the Jewish Teen Funders Network minor that Scott helped facilitate.
For Scott, “philanthropy” is not “charity.” Instead, he says, “Philanthropy is strategic grantmaking.” The paramount goal of the class he facilitated is to teach 10th through 12th graders how their personal values should inform and direct their philanthropy.
Students at Kutz Camp in the Jewish Teen Funders Network minor receive $1,000 to grant to an organization of their choice. During the class that Scott facilitated, students clarify and define their value’s. “They identify what they really care about,” explains Scott, “so that they can carefully and intentionally grant funds to an organization that reflects their individual goals and vision for making a difference in the world.”
Scott says that in his own philanthropic work, he’s always valued Jewish organizations. “Not that secular organizations aren’t important, but they have a much broader base of support,” he says. “It’s always been important to me for Jews to help other Jews, because if they don’t, who will?”
A member of Temple Chai in Phoenix, Arizona, Scott established a B’nai Tzedek fund at JCF after he became a Bar Mitzvah in 2009. He’s been growing and contributing as a young philanthropist ever since, even being interviewed by the New York Times for a July 2014 article, Learning Young the Gift of Helping Others.
In addition to Scott’s service at JCF, he’s recently been elected to serve as Programming Vice President for the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), one of only six elected leadership positions on the NFTY North American Board and the first senior in high school elected to the board in 17 years (Board members are usually at least college freshman).
JCF’s B’nai Tzedek program is part of the Jewish Teen Funders Network of North America. As a NFTY board member, Scott began working with this network to help bring youth philanthropy programming to NFTY.
At JCF, we’re fortunate to benefit from Scott’s leadership in our local Jewish community, especially alongside his younger brother, Zachary, a sophomore, who also established a B’nai Tzedek fund upon becoming a Bar Mitzvah and is a member of the JCF’s Youth Philanthropy Board. We look forward to following both of their philanthropic endeavors in the future.