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Rose Youth Foundation Makes Slingshot List

Rose Youth Foundation, an initiative of Rose Community Foundation, was named one of the nation’s 50 most innovative Jewish nonprofits in Slingshot ’10/’11, a resource guide for Jewish innovation, released on October 19, 2010. The award was presented during the annual Slingshot Day launch event in New York City on the same date. Rose Youth Foundation engages Jewish high school students from throughout Greater Denver in improving their community through grantmaking.

Slingshot is a guide that identifies organizations taking trailblazing approaches to addressing age-old concerns of identity, community and tradition in Jewish life today. This year, Slingshot received a record 161 applications. A panel of 36 foundation professionals from across North America selected organizations based on their strength in four areas: innovation, impact, leadership and organizational efficiency.

Inspired four years ago by Slingshot, a group of next-generation philanthropists launched the Slingshot Fund, a collective giving mechanism to support innovative Jewish life. The Slingshot Fund has contributed nearly $1.5 million to innovative Jewish nonprofits. Jonathan Riaffe, chairman of the Slingshot Fund Committee, says, “The organizations in Slingshot have really challenged my views about what it means to be involved in Jewish nonprofits and provide me with a strong sense of pride in my Jewish identity.” This is Rose Youth Foundation’s first time being featured in Slingshot.

Each year, the 23 members of Rose Youth Foundation form a diverse group from different schools and a variety of Jewish backgrounds. The youth work together for seven months to make grants totaling $60,000 to address the community issues they identify as important. The experience provides students a unique opportunity to apply the lessons of their heritage to help address contemporary issues in their communities. Members draw on Jewish values like tikkun olam (repairing the world), and tzedakah (righteousness) to inform their grantmaking. Since Rose Youth Foundation’s inception in 2001, 145 Jewish youth have participated, awarding more than $398,000 in grants to organizations throughout Greater Denver. “No other activity can empower, inspire and develop you as a leader like Rose Youth Foundation can,” said Stephen Lurie, Rose Youth Foundation alumnus.

“This national recognition is a wonderful endorsement of the power of youth as leaders in our community and the power of philanthropy to engage Jewish youth,” said Lisa Farber Miller, senior program officer for Jewish Life at Rose Community Foundation. “We are grateful to Slingshot for their dedication to showcasing contemporary and meaningful ways for people to connect Jewishly.”

“2010 was the most competitive year that Slingshot has experienced. Not only are there a greater number of applicants each year, but the extent and complexity of each applicant’s impact has increased,” said Will Schneider, director of Slingshot. “The feedback from the evaluators told us that the guide could easily have been filled with twice as many inspirational projects, so these 50 had to really shine to rise to the top.”

About Rose Community Foundation

Rose Community Foundation supports efforts to improve the quality of life throughout the Greater Denver community through its endowed grantmaking programs, and by advising and assisting donors who wish to make thoughtful charitable investments to better the community. Rose Youth Foundation is an initiative of Rose Community Foundation. For more information, visit rcfdenver.org.

About Slingshot

Slingshot features organizations, leaders and programs that have taken an innovative approach to addressing concerns of identity and community in Jewish life. Slingshot was created as a guidebook to help funders identify the most innovative and effective organizations and programs in North America. Inspired by the guide, a group of “next-generation donors” launched The Slingshot Fund, a collective giving mechanism to support the future of innovative Jewish life in North America. For more information, visit slingshotfund.org.

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