A Los Angeles program is turning Jewish teens into philanthropists

LAunchpad, which is starting at four L.A.-area synagogues, organizes teens to collectively fundraise and allocate money.

Sadie, 15, and eight of her peers sat in a classroom at Congregation Ner Tamid in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., making a weighty decision: All of their favorite candies were present, but which candy was the best? They broke up into smaller groups to discuss.

“It was not a majority vote, but we were having conversations about it, which I felt was really cool,” Sadie told eJewishPhilanthropy. “It was just really fun to bounce off ideas against each other.”
Sadie and the other teens in the classroom were learning to create consensus. While that day’s debate was about candy bars, it was a prelude to the real work in the months ahead: identifying local causes and using Jewish values to make an impact.

The nine teens were participating in their first session of LAunchpad, a new teen philanthropy program in which Los Angeles-area Jewish teens collectively decide where to allocate thousands of dollars.