For 18 amazing years, Honeycomb has been the leading resource for the field of Jewish Youth Philanthropy. Through training, curriculum, professional development, research, and network-building, Honeycomb (formerly the Jewish Teen Funders Network) is proud to be at the forefront of this amazing field. Without our network of dedicated facilitators and cohorts of initiatives, we would not be able to reach so far and wide. The creation of resources and curriculum would not be possible without our amazing funders, supporters, and our advisory board members. Over the years we have had many talented professionals be part of the Honeycomb team; their ideas, passion, and personalities have pushed Honeycomb for the last 18 years.

Follow this celebration series of articles for the next 10 weeks as we explore Honeycomb’s lasting impact and our hopes for the future.

Week 2: Lisa Farber-Miller, Principal and Founder, Philanthropy Partners Consulting; Honeycomb Advisory Board

What has your involvement with Honeycomb been over the years?

I had the good fortune to be involved since inception in 2006, when Honeycomb was known Jewish Teen Funders Network (JTFN). In 1999, I was one of a group of Jewish Funders Network members with Jewish teen philanthropy programs who started imagining a field of Jewish youth philanthropy and proliferating its impact. We began to lay the groundwork through convenings of practitioners. Seven years later, Ricky Shechtel and Barbara Gervis Lubran co-chaired the first JTFN board of which I was a member.

What comes to mind when you think about Honeycomb?

A dream come true! Way back in 1999, we were committed to an aspirational shared goal of a Jewish youth philanthropy field that would broaden and deepen through incentive funding, technical assistance, materials, and gatherings. We hoped to create a philanthropic landscape where youth were viewed as the competent, strategic grantmakers and changemakers, alongside adults. Our goal was that Jewish teens would experience the powerful combination of using Jewish values to inform grantmaking and build identity, while becoming agents of positive change in their communities. Honeycomb is the central address for Jewish youth philanthropy and achieved all these goals and more on an international scale.

What was missing in the philanthropic landscape, and how did Honeycomb fit that gap?

Before Honeycomb, we lacked a national platform, funding investments, field building blocks, regular convenings, best practices, and other ways to support and grow the Jewish youth philanthropy community. While there were wonderful examples of excellent programs led by my mentors Marjory Goldman, Gail Littman (z’l), Sue Shwartzman, Ricky, Barbara, and others, we lacked a unifying organization and scaling capital. Since its founding, Honeycomb is the leading resource for the field of Jewish youth philanthropy. Through training, curriculum, professional development, research, and network-building, Honeycomb is at the forefront of the field.

What does the future of Jewish philanthropy look like, and how do you think Honeycomb can be at the forefront of that?

For me, Jewish youth philanthropy is fundamentally the future of Jewish philanthropy and has all the ingredients for a future of strong, strategic grantmakers responding with empathy and intelligence to turbulent times. It provides a welcoming and compelling doorway to Judaism and Jewish people and strengthens connections to Israel, peoplehood, Jewish learning, and spirituality. It empowers people to be active change agents trained to partner with grantees to create a more just world. Youth philanthropy promotes volunteering, leadership development, collaboration, and crossing divides and differences—the essential elements for Jewish philanthropy to thrive in the future. Like all powerful giving groups, the effect of participating in a Jewish youth philanthropy is far-reaching well after a teens’ participation.

Why do you personally love Honeycomb? What is your affinity for the work we do?

For over 20 years I was fortunate to be part of the birth of Jewish youth philanthropy and to see its growth into a recognized field led by Honeycomb. With my team at Rose Youth Foundation, I witnessed the profound impact of youth engaging with their communities and being seen as peers and experts. They made me a far better grantmaker, opening my eyes to teens’ needs and perspectives. The magic of combining Jewish values with philanthropy creates powerful Jewish connections and community. Helping Jewish teens do their part to make world a better place with strategic philanthropy has been one of my greatest joys.


Week 1: Andres Spokoiny, CEO, Jewish Funders Network; Honeycomb Advisory Board

What has your involvement with Honeycomb been over the years? As head of JFN, I was involved with Honeycomb since it was called Jewish Teens Funders Network. I saw its growth and its development over the years and I’m very proud and excited to celebrate Honeycomb’s 18th birthday!

What comes to mind when you think about Honeycomb? The major keywords that come to mind are Education, Philanthropy, Leadership, Continuity, Creativity, Youth, and Energy, but these are just words. Without the action and experiences these words are empty. What Honeycomb continues to do is make meaning for these words.

What was missing in the philanthropic landscape, and how did Honeycomb fill that gap? The community at large is very concerned about developing philanthropy in the next generations. As generational transfers of wealth operate, there’s a risk that new generations don’t have the same philanthropic attitudes (or skills) of their predecessors. Honeycomb is doing precisely that: educating youth to do philanthropy in a smart, strategic, committed, and compassionate way. It succeeded where others failed thanks to a combination of excellent programming, networking, and communications.

What does the future of Jewish philanthropy look like, and how do you think Honeycomb can be at the forefront of that? The future of philanthropy holds both challenges and opportunities. Honeycomb can help young people find the right balance. It can use Jewish values to inform emerging challenges in philanthropy. Also, there’s a dearth of leadership (not only in philanthropy but in the world) and Honeycomb is, among other things, a workshop of leadership. Finally, as philanthropy becomes more sophisticated and professionalized, Honeycomb gives people the tools and skills to do philanthropy in an effective and meaningful manner.

Why do you personally love Honeycomb? What is your affinity for the work we do? Personally, I’m a product of Jewish philanthropy. I’m what I am in life because philanthropy helped me get here, so, for me philanthropy is deeply personal, it’s my life’s work and a way of giving back. I also believe that philanthropy is and will be key to addressing the many issues we face as a people and a world. As JFN’s CEO, I always say that Honeycomb is our hidden Jewel, for it builds the future of philanthropy like nobody else.

 

 

Many of the Honeycomb professional development offerings and resources are available free of charge or at a heavily discounted rate thanks to the generous contributions from funders. Help us continue this great work by sending a birthday tribute!