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What is the Teen Tzedek Youth Philanthropy Program? Teen Tzedek’s mission is to teach Jewish youth the importance of giving Jewishly. Outreach is done through local organizations and congregations. Students are led through a workshop teaching the difference between Tzedakah and Philanthropy and the importance of Jews supporting Jewish causes.

How does the Teen Tzedek Program work? Teens in or near their Bar/Bat Mitzvah year 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 congregation and/or student) per student allows teens to create their own philanthropic fund. The monies are invested and managed by the Jewish Federation with the intent of providing the student with an annual 5% to be donated to any Jewish non-profit (501c3) organization in the world.

Although the monies are pooled for investment, each teen will maintain a separate Teen Tzedek account. This operates much like the Passport to Israel funds.

The funds will be called the Teen’s Name Teen Tzedek Philanthropic Fund. Anyone may contribute to the fund on behalf of the teen –parents, grandparents, etc.

When can I enroll in Teen Tzedek? You may begin the year before, during or after your Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

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

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 think of a Jewish non-profit, anywhere in the world, that is meaningful to you. All you have to do is respond to our request letting us know which charity you have chosen and we will do the rest. The non-profit will be informed that the donation is coming from your fund!

What if I decide to stop participating in the Teen Tzedek Program? You would consider your account as a donation…the original $300 granted to you from the Kranzberg Family Foundation will go back to fund another teen.

If you have any questions, please contact Jody Gerth at 314-442-3881 or

Teen Tzedek is funded by a generous grant from the Kranzberg Family Foundation of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.