More than 200 teens, parents, grandparents, community leaders and educators turned out for the Oregon Jewish Community Youth Foundation’s (OJCYF) 10th Anniversary Celebration benefit dinner on May 2, 2013. The Harold and Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation was the event’s lead sponsor.
OJCYF’s mission is to secure the future of Jewish philanthropy and to develop a strong generation of future Jewish leaders. By involving Greater Portland area Jewish teenagers in the fundraising, allocation and distribution of money to both Jewish and secular nonprofit organizations, OJCYF teaches its youth the satisfaction of philanthropy while instilling in them a sense of responsibility in community. 39 Jewish teens from diverse high schools including OES, Sunset, Lake Oswego, Wilson, Lincoln, Beaverton, Riverdale and more participated in this 10th season of OJCYF.
Dinner co-chairs were seniors Danielle Spring and Maayan Agam, each of whom have been in OJCYF for 4 years. Teens ran the evening, beginning with a mock allocation activity, and acknowledgment of the generous support over 10 years by the OJCYF “Angel” funders and original founders of the program and a Mitzvah Moment paddle raise. The teen-led band, Surviving Yesterday, provided upbeat entertainment as guests dined on a buffet of cumin chicken and eggplant moussaka. The dinner also included a donation drive for Sunshine Pantry. The pantry’s founder, Sharon Straus, also attended the event.
Keynote speaker Jordan Schnitzer gave an inspired address during which he spoke about making a difference through a single act of kindness every day and remembering humility. The evening concluded with honors for the founders of OJCYF, Marcia, Stuart and daughter Julia Weiss, John Moss, then OJCF executive director and the San Diego Jewish Community Foundation which guided OJCYF in the early days.
Gross proceeds from the benefit dinner exceeded $53,000. Net proceeds will be awarded to Jewish and secular community nonprofits by OJCYF teen board members at their May allocations meeting. The teens have already allocated $6,000 already to Jewish and secular organizations that they visited during the year. OJCYF is a program of the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation, www.ojcf.org.