2016-02-03 / Columns

Give the next generation the support they need

Executive Director, Jewish Community Foundation

Providing financial scholarship awards is one of the many wonderful ways that the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. helps the community, and the younger cohort of our Jewish community in particular.

The JCF holds 10 awards that were each created by an array of wonderfully thoughtful donors who wish to continue to support young scholars and emerging leaders from our community for years into the future. Each donor would certainly tell a different story about why they established a fund.

For example, after the passing of her husband, Len Hirschfeld, in 2002, Carol Hirschfeld Roth established a unique fund with the JCF. According to Carol, who is now a JCF Board member, “Since I was a longtime educator and Len had been a ‘computer guy,’ (I worked with the JCF in) establishing a scholarship that would provide students in need with an annual gift of technology. Each year, the fund awards several high school seniors in South Jersey the money to purchase a technology item of their choosing. I feel that each time a young person is able to purchase a technological tool to assist with further education, Len’s memory is honored.” This is a wonderful way to memorialize or honor a loved one, and help others in the community at the same time.

With the JCF’s annual Scholarship & Emerging Leader Awards deadline of Mar. 16 approaching (spread the word! and visit www.EndowmentFunds.org for more info), it seemed timely to think about how we—as adults with oodles of experience and knowledge to share—can help our children at home and in the community excel in their studies, careers, and lives.

Here are four suggestions to consider:

 Promote Volunteering: Kids of all ages can gain in many ways by giving their time to perform mitzvot. By volunteering, they will meet new people, learn new skills, see the world in new ways, feel good about helping others, and even build their résumés for college and beyond.

 Talk about Finances: There are many age-specific books and websites on how to talk to kids about money and finances, so let this serve as a reminder that by educating your kids on financial issues, you will provide a foundation that will last a lifetime.

 Encourage Philanthropy: Any individual, family, or organization can consider creating a legacy or contributing a current gift to start a fund, such as a scholarship fund, to benefit future generations. In addition to helping those in need, it will serve as a great example for children. 

Job Skills Preparation: Young adults start applying for parttime jobs as early as the teen years, and then full-time jobs in subsequent years. While they may excel in their education, they may be unprepared for creating resumes, interviewing, and other techniques related to the job search. Most high schools, colleges, universities, or other organizations, such as JEVS, can provide assistance in this regard.

Do you have other suggestions on how we can collectively help younger generations excel? Share your thoughts to marketingjcf@jfedsnj.org and we just might publish them! Thank you. . amilgrim@jfedsnj.org

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