New Report Shows that Jewish Youth Philanthropy Programs
Strengthen Teens’ Jewish Identities and Build Connections in Their Communities

Programs in ten communities, incubated by Honeycomb, enabled teens to identify local needs, make grantmaking decisions

Teens in Jewish youth philanthropy programs become active leaders grounded in Jewish values, ethics, and identity, and bring a new perspective on Jewish giving that strengthens connections across their communities. These findings and others are detailed in a new report, Cultivating the Next Generation of Giving, commissioned by Honeycomb and conducted by ORS Impact. The report shows that teens in these programs gain a higher level of ownership and decision-making beyond typical youth programs, while the programs also help to grow the next generation of Jewish changemakers amid shifting practices of philanthropy.

Key findings around the programs’ impact on youth participants, host organizations (i.e. federations, foundations, JCCs), and the broader community include:

Youth participants become active, engaged leaders grounded in Jewish values, ethics, and identity.
– Teens increase their connection to Jewish community and identity in ways that are inclusive of teens from different backgrounds and denominations.
– The program builds teens’ confidence, leadership, and interests in nonprofits and philanthropy, alongside meaningful community engagement.

The Jewish Youth Philanthropy programs forge new partnerships and connections across Jewish organizations and the broader community.
– Youth participants bring a new perspective on Jewish giving, creating new community connections.
– Funders and supporters who connect with the program often become long-term champions of the work, engaging year after year.

Program leaders value being part of a community of practitioners and the ready-made curriculum, which help programs become self-sustaining.
– Program leaders value the connections built from being part of a cohort.
– The support that Honeycomb provides transitions the host organizations from Incubator sites to self-sustaining programs.

Honeycomb launched the Foundation Board Incubator to support community-based teen foundations that empower teens to serve as local philanthropic leaders. As part of the Incubator, host organizations of Jewish teen philanthropy programs engaged in a three- or five-year partnership with local funders and Honeycomb.

“Teens are passionate about creating change and addressing causes in society,” says Danielle Segal, Executive Director of Honeycomb. “By creating space to blend these passions with Jewish learning and values, these philanthropy programs open up a new world to teens and develop them as leaders. They experience ways that Judaism adds meaning to their lives and want to engage in even deeper ways with the community.”

“We are excited to bring this report to the field, a culmination of eight years of gathering data and conducting interviews and impact studies,” adds Laura Lauder, whose family venture philanthropy fund in partnership with Maimonides Fund supported the Foundation Board Incubator. “The Foundation Board Incubator, which catalyzed high quality Jewish youth philanthropy programs, helped shape a new gold standard in Jewish philanthropy education. The benefits from effective Jewish youth philanthropy programming can be felt from the teen participants all the way to the wider host organizations. We are thrilled to be creating the next generation of Jewish leaders.”

Honeycomb’s Foundation Board Incubator supported organizations to develop their own, local Jewish youth philanthropy programs between 2014 and 2022 in ten communities: San Diego, Detroit, Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia, Melbourne, Israel, Seattle, Indianapolis, and Houston. More than 3,500 participants granted out over $1 million in the programs. Customizable curriculum guided participants through the full grantmaking process, from identifying Jewish values to awarding grants. Honeycomb staff provided coaching and cohort-based learning for program leaders.

“One of the most valuable parts of the program was how I got to learn about how Jewish values can be embedded with philanthropy,” says one youth participant from Boston. “While creating the mission statement, we were able to choose the values that most closely aligned with us, and that allowed us to think more critically through a Jewish perspective when deciding on grants.”

The Incubator provided host organizations with seed funding to begin their program, a curriculum to guide the participants’ experience, and coaching and access to the community of fellow Incubator site staff to support implementation along the way. The programs are now independently operating Jewish Youth Philanthropy programs.

The Foundation Board Incubator is a project of Honeycomb, generously funded by Laura Lauder and the Maimonides Fund.