For the second consecutive year, Rose Youth Foundation, an initiative of Rose Community Foundation, has been named one of the nation’s 50 most innovative Jewish nonprofits in Slingshot ’11/’12, a resource guide for Jewish innovation. Rose Youth Foundation was selected because of its innovative approach to Jewish youth engagement and its emphasis on youth leadership in the largely adult-dominated world of philanthropy. A panel of 36 foundation professionals from across North America made the selections.
Slingshot is used by philanthropists, volunteers, nonprofit executives and others to identify path-finding and trailblazing organizations addressing challenges in Jewish life such as identity, community and tradition.
Each year, Rose Youth Foundation brings together a diverse group of 23 Jewish youth from more than a dozen high schools and every denomination of Judaism to form a grantmaking team at Rose Community Foundation. Explains Sarah Indyk, Jewish life initiatives manager,
“Instead of telling young people that they are tomorrow’s leaders, Rose Youth Foundation recognizes that youth have the potential to be leaders in the Jewish community today and provides them with the tools, resources and support they need to make a real difference now.”
The youth work together for seven months and make grants totaling $60,000 to address the issues they identify as important to Greater Denver and Boulder’s Jewish and broader communities. The only requirements placed on the group are that their grants must be local – in keeping with Rose Community Foundation’s grantmaking mission – and they must make grants that are “primarily Jewish” in nature. “It is up to each group to determine what giving in a primarily Jewish way means to them,” explains Lisa Farber Miller, senior program officer, “and to explore how Jewish traditions and teachings can be relevant to the good they wish to do in the world today.”
Since Rose Youth Foundation’s inception in 2001, 160 Jewish youth have participated, awarding more than $460,000 in grants to organizations throughout Greater Denver and Boulder. “Rose Youth Foundation gave me confidence in my ability to change my community,” reports Sarah Zapiler, a former Rose Youth Foundation member who has gone on to found her own nonprofit organization.
A forthcoming study, Rose Youth Foundation: Ten Years of Impact, documents the results of Rose Youth Foundation’s first decade in terms of both grantmaking impact and engagement of youth in Jewish life.