Mitzi & Henry Saeman B’nai Tzedek Fund Program
Local Jewish teens have the opportunity to open a philanthropic Fund at the Foundation at the time of bar or bat mitzvah. With an initial contribution from the family of $125 (or more) – often from bar or bat mitzvah gifts — teens are given $375 in matching money to open a fund to use for tzedakah of $500. Thanks to the generosity of Mitzi and Henry (z”l) Saeman, $250 is available for each local bar or bat mitzvah. The Columbus Jewish Foundation provides an additional $125 to encourage teen giving.
This innovative program is our investment in local Jewish teens. We provide tools designed to encourage a life-long commitment to tzedakah. B’nai Tzedek teens make contributions from their Funds to charities of their personal choice. These Funds are available for ten years, and can be used for any charitable purpose as directed by the teen fund holder. B’nai Tzedek works like their own personal charitable checkbook. Teens become active donors to causes and organizations they believe in, and learn how to make giving decisions to “repair the world.” This is practice in individual philanthropic giving at its best.
Individual B’nai Tzedek Funds can be set up at any time, not only in the year of bar or bat mitzvah, as long as matching dollars are avaiable. Many Funds are opened prior to the big day in order to encourage gifts of charity into the Funds. B’nai Tzedek Funds also can be opened as a gift for friend or family member.
Because we have such a generous program, Columbus has one of the largest B’nai Tzedek Fund programs in the country with more than 400 local teen Funds. The kids involved in the program grow to see charitable giving as within their power. All they have to do to make a donation is send an email or make a quick call and money is sent directly from their Fund to the organization requested.
B’nai Tzedek offers periodic educational programming to highlight local nonprofit organizations and problems affecting our community. Once established, fund holders can make donations, receive gifts for charitable use (or donate back directly into their Funds). To sign up for a B’nai Tzedek Fund, or for more information, contact Debby Applefeld, Director of Youth Philanthropy, at 614-338-2365 or firstname.lastname@example.org.