How NowGen Is Securing Our Jewish Future

By Nancy B. Greer

President & CEO
Ensuring that our Jewish community has a vibrant future is a core function of leadership. As part of our work for Jewish continuity, your Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle invests in a suite of programs that enable rising community members to gain the knowledge, skills, and contacts necessary for effective leadership.

One of the leadership development programs made possible by our many generous donors is the Seattle NowGen Giving Circle, which is embarking on its fourth year as a grassroots initiative of the Federation.

NowGen recently awarded $18,650 (including a Federation match) to 11 organizations that, each in their own way, lift people up and add vibrancy to Jewish life, bringing NowGen’s three-year cumulative grant total to $56,150. This year’s grant recipients include:

  • ADL Pacific Northwest
  • Am Yisrael Chai
  • BBYO, Evergreen Region
  • Be’er-Sova
  • Hebrew Free Loan Association of Washington State
  • Holocaust Center for Humanity
  • Jewish Family Service
  • Music of Remembrance
  • Spokane Area Jewish Family Services
  • Stroum Jewish Community Center
  • Washington State Jewish Historical Society

NowGen’s self-directed model of grantmaking is a practical way of mastering philanthropic leadership through cohort-based learning by doing. Each of the 11 members in this year’s NowGen Giving Circle contributed at least $500 to the grant pool. Then, they met monthly for learning, assessing community needs, and setting grant priorities. Grant applications were requested and as a group, the Circle discussed the applications they received and decided on grants in line with their priorities.

In addition to exercising philanthropic leadership that makes an immediate impact, NowGen members are strengthening relationships with each other and with grant recipients. This will have long-term benefits. The work of building and nurturing relationships is central to keeping Jewish life strong and drawing more people into community life.

The Seattle NowGen Giving Circle has proved its value in bringing the new ideas and fresh energy of up-and-coming leaders to community leadership. NowGen perfectly exemplifies the Jewish value of hitlamdut—openness to learning, willingness to innovate, striving for continuous improvement, and nurturing of creativity that will ensure a vibrant future for Jewish life.