• Each year, the Jewish Fund engages a diverse group of 25 Jewish high school students in grades 10 through 12 who want to make a real difference by learning about philanthropy (the practice of giving money and time to help make life better for other people) and becoming grantmakers. Our Teen Board is a youth-led program. Each year, members will decide how they want to engage their Jewish values to improve their community.
  • Learn the ins and outs of the grantmaking process while applying Jewish values to philanthropy
  • Acquire critical research skills and enhance leadership abilities
  • Debate social justice issues
  • Participate in intensive training on how to evaluate grant proposals from non-profits
  • Challenge each other to make thoughtful, insightful grants that address the causes that matter most to them, within the scope of the mission of The Jewish Fund.
  • At the end of each year, The Jewish Fund Teen Board members will work together to grant $50,000 to both Jewish and secular charities in metro Detroit. The Teen Board is a very real, very substantial demonstration not only of tzedakah and tikkum olam, but of the tremendous social and financial impact that tomorrow’s grant makers can have upon the world today.

Please look at the latest Teen Board video:

Teen Board 2014-2015.

The Experience (click for more details)

Year 1

  • The first half of the year is spent focusing on interactive learning to give Teen Board members the knowledge and skill needed to evaluate grant proposals, participate in site visits, and utilize a consensus process to make funding decisions.
  • The second half of the year is devoted to actively reviewing grant proposals, participating in site visits and working together to select projects to fund. The experience culminates in a Grant Celebration at the end of the year where the Teen Board reflects on their experience and publicly acknowledges the organizations which have received funding.
  • Applications for Year 1 are accepted each year during the month of May through our website. Each applicant also participates in an interview with Teen Board leadership. The selection process is competitive, as there are typically 2-3 times the number of applicants as spots available. Priority is given to those teens who are less engaged in other Jewish programming and for those who are truly passionate about philanthropy and social impact work. Teen Board staff work to select a diverse membership for each cohort.

Year 2

  • For Teen Board members wishing to continue their experience, many choose to enroll in “Year 2”. This is also a school year length experience, and will meet on the same dates as the Year 1 program. The Year 2 program allows Teen Board members to follow up on the grants provided during their Year 1 experience, with additional learning about evaluation and program impact. There is also a deeper dive into a variety of grantmaking and philanthropy topics to further solidify board members’ knowledge and connection to their community and the impact which they can have.
  • New for 2017-2018, Year 2 will also participate in grantmaking and will have their own grant pool of $50,000 to award! This exciting addition will further expand the amazing community impact of The Jewish Fund Teen Board.
  • All participants who have successfully completed Year 1 are welcome to sign up to participate in the Year 2 experience.

Leadership Committee

  • The Teen Board Leadership Committee is comprised of 6 teens who have completed a minimum of Year 1 (and preferably Year 2 as well). Interested Teen Board members apply for Leadership Committee (LC) positions, are interviewed by the Teen Board coordinator and selected based on their past involvement in the Teen Board as well as their potential to be a positive mentor to incoming Teen Board members. A new LC is selected each year.
  • he Leadership Committee is expected to attend all Teen Board Meetings (Fall Retreat and Monthly meetings), as well as a monthly Leadership Committee (LC) Planning Meeting to help plan the curriculum and activities for the Teen Board meeting.
  • Responsibilities include: meeting facilitation, a small amount of extra research, mentoring first year committee members, attendance at site visits, and potential speaking engagements to represent The Jewish Fund Teen Board.


  • Once a Teen Board member is no longer participating in a school year length experience, they are considered “Alumni”. During the year, Alumni are invited to connect with the Teen Board both as mentors to newer members as well as in ways that further their own philanthropy experiences.
  • The Jewish Fund is proud to have received a grant from The Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation to support opportunities for Teen Board Alumni. Due to this generous funding, The Teen Board is able to offer our Alumni opportunities to attend philanthropic conferences and learning programs at no or a reduced cost and/or paid non-profit internship experiences. The goal of this project is to extend the learning of the Teen Board and expose our alumni to the wider world of philanthropy.




2016 Teen Board Annual Report

The Jewish Fund accepts applications from teens interested in joining the Teen Board on an annual basis. In order to apply as a first year board member, teens must be entering grade 10 or 11, and identify as Jewish. Following the successful completion of a year on the Board, students can continue to be involved in a variety of ways, including applying for an optional Leadership experience, provided they meet the participation requirements.



BACKGROUNDThe field of Jewish teen philanthropy grew during the late 1990s as programs emerged at various Jewish institutions around the United States. Students are empowered to explore Jewish values, grow as leaders, and engage in building communities.

Jewish teen philanthropy programming goes beyond a simple tzedakah lesson or fundraising project. By engaging teens in collective philanthropic giving, these programs help youth to understand the Jewish obligation of tzedakah on a much deeper level.

The Jewish Fund Teen Board is honored to be one of two communities selected by the Jewish Teen Funders Network (www.jtfn.org) to take part in the first cohort of The Foundation Board Incubator which is generously funded by Laura Lauder and the Maimonides Fund. This initiative seeks to create 8 to 10 new Jewish teen foundations by 2016. The Jewish Fund Teen Board will receive support, resources and consultation from JTFN for the initial 5 years of programming.


tb3The Jewish Fund accepts applications from teens interested in joining the Teen Board on an annual basis. In order to apply as a first year board member, teens must be entering grade 10 or 11, and identify as Jewish. Following the successful completion of a year on the Board, students can continue to be involved in a variety of ways, including applying for an optional Leadership experience, provided they meet the participation requirements.


tb1The Teen Board is an eight-month program, beginning in October. Participation Expectations are as follows:

  • Attend the Opening Retreat
  • Attend all Sunday afternoon meetings (unless previously discussed with Teen Board Coordinator prior to the meetings)
  • Participate in at least two site visit meetings with potential grantee organizations
  • Participate fully in grant proposal reviews and prepare for meetings with occasional research and reading
  • Contribute meaningfully to The Jewish Fund Teen Board group process
  • Attend the end of the year Grants Celebration

  • Most meetings will be held at the Max M. Fisher Federation Building at 6735 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301.
  • Applicant interviews for potential Year 1 Teen Board members take place in mid-June. These interviews may be either individual or group interviews, depending on the number of applicants. All applicants do receive an interview.
  • All applicants are notified of selection decisions via email at the conclusion of the interview period.
  • New Board Member Orientation for members and parents – Thursday, October 19, 2017, 7:15-8:30 p.m.
  • Year 1 Fall Retreat – Sunday, October 22, 2017, 10:00 am to 5:00 p.m. (Please note: in order to participate in the Teen Board 2016-17, you must attend this retreat)
  • Monthly Board Meeting Dates (Year 1 & Year 2) (all meetings are 4-7 PM)
  • November 5, December 3, January 21, February 4, March 18, April 15, April 29
  • Site Visit Meetings with Potential Grantees – scheduled after school on the following dates: February 26,27,28 & March 5, 6, 7, 8.
  • Grants Celebration – Thursday, May 17, 2018, 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.

For More Information email Martha Goldberg at mgoldberg@jfmd.org or call 248.642.4741.


Applications for Year 1 Teen Board members are taken each year during the month of May. For more information, please contact Martha Goldberg at mgoldberg@jfmd.org.