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The St. Louis Teen Tzedek Youth Philanthropy Program empowers teens to improve the world by launching them on a personal and engaged relationship to life-long giving and action.

Teen Tzedek provides local teens with the opportunity to create their own philanthropic funds, and each year they allocate money from their fund to a charity of their choice. In addition, teens can participate in hands-on learning and volunteer opportunities. Teens in the program learn about different Jewish and non-Jewish nonprofits in St. Louis as well as work on community service projects.

Teen Tzedek is funded by a generous grant from the Kranzberg Family Foundation. If you have any questions, please contact Jody Gerth at 314-442-3881 or JGerth@JFedSTL.org

Teen Tzedek Objectives

  • To empower Jewish teens to change the world through philanthropy and volunteer work.
  • To cultivate the next generation of leadership for our congregations and community agencies.
  • To provide the chance for Jewish teens to experience an allocation process for non-profit organizations.

Additional Benefits

  • Excellent addition to a college resume.
  • Opportunities to complete service hours.

How does the Teen Tzedek Program work? 
Teens learn how to become philanthropists by starting their own philanthropic accounts. The St. Louis-based Kranzberg Family Foundation provides a generous grant to match student contributions. An initial contribution of $500 ($300 from the Kranzberg Foundation and $200 from the student) per student allows teens to create their own philanthropic fund. The monies are invested and managed by the Jewish Federation.

When can I enroll in Teen Tzedek?
You can enroll in the program once you are in 7th grade. Our program is for both middle schoolers (7-8th grade) and high schoolers (9-12th grade).

Where does my money come from?
It can come from anywhere – your bar/bat mitzvah gifts, babysitting money, allowance, etc. You can also check with your congregation to see if they have any funds to contribute to your account.

What do I need to do to keep my fund active? 
Each year you are required to add at least $18 to your fund. This amount goes toward the balance so that you will have more to allocate each year. You must also make your yearly allocation to keep your fund active.

Will Teen Tzedek help me figure out where I should donate my money?
Yes, Teen Tzedek will help you find an organization that supports causes you care about most. Just find your passion, and we will help match your interests with organizations that need help.

Who else is in Teen Tzedek?
Teens like you who want to make a difference and have fun learning and volunteering together!

How does the allocation process work? 
Toward the end of each year you will be notified that it is time to choose the charity you would like to allocate to. This gives you the opportunity to select a non-profit organization, anywhere in the world, that is meaningful to you. The non-profit will be informed that the donation is coming from your fund! You can make as many allocations as you would like as long as each distribution to a 501c3 organization is at least $18 and you keep a minimum balance of $100 in the fund.

What happens in the future?
When you reach the age of 20, your fund will automatically become a Donor Advised Fund. If you do not have a $500 balance at that time, you will have a year to bring the balance up to the minimum of a Donor Advised Fund. If you do not wish to continue with the Donor Advised Fund, you can close your account by allocating the remaining funds to a charity so that your balance then becomes zero.

What if I decide to stop participating in the Teen Tzedek Program? 
The remaining funds in your account will either be allocated to Jewish Federation as a donation or to your charity of choice.

Join Teen Tzedek Today! 
Be a part of a powerful way to make a change in the world. Give yourself the opportunity to express yourself and support issues you really care about.

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