By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
I had the pleasure of attending the Jewish Federations of North America’s virtual General Assembly last weekend, along with thousands from across North America and Israel. One of the many moments from the gathering that stood out for me was Israeli MK Yair Lapid’s insightful reminder that the Jewish nation is “a contract between the generations.”
Jewish Puget Sound thrives today because of wise decisions that previous generations of leaders made to invest in community. Nurturing and expanding Jewish life is important work that will always be with us. Ensuring Jewish continuity is an obligation for every generation—and part of the obligation for today’s leaders is to prepare the next generation to step up to leadership for the future.
That’s why your Federation is so excited about the Seattle NowGen Giving Circle, a philanthropic leadership initiative of the Federation. Currently in its third year, NowGen brings dedicated young leaders together to give back to community and develop leadership skills. We are grateful to all of our donors who have made NowGen possible, including legacy donors who are looking ahead to a bright Jewish future!
The way NowGen works is that participants contribute funds into a pool for grantmaking to Jewish organizations, based on thoughtful discussion of community needs. In its first two years, NowGen made grants totaling $37,500 to 13 local and Israeli organizations, including a second-year Federation match.
At a deeper level, NowGen imparts leadership skills on an enduring foundation of Jewish values. The group has the opportunity to hear first-hand from community philanthropists and learn from their insights about making an impact and changing lives.
As NowGen co-founder Jonny Basha says: “What’s remarkable about this group is the leadership component. I find it very rewarding to know that this group gets together monthly to not only check in with each other and support each other, but also to discuss the values of Jewish philanthropy and grapple with challenging topics about where our funds can inspire the most impact.”
By learning as a group, NowGen participants are expanding their network, so when they take on communal leadership responsibilities, they will have peers and mentors available for guidance, advice, and for vetting ideas. Leadership is always more effective and impactful when it is informed and shaped by many hands.
Are you interested in being a part of the Seattle NowGen Giving Circle? You can contact my colleague Rachel Rosenman to learn more about how you can get involved in this exciting leadership initiative!
Leadership imbued with Jewish values has always been essential for building a strong, vibrant community. Never more so than now as we look ahead in this unsettled world. Our collective future will depend on leaders ready to meet tomorrow’s challenges, some foreseeable, many not. I am filled with hope: the Seattle NowGen Giving Circle is helping to raise up leaders who will make a difference in the years ahead. We can count on them to fulfill that “contract between the generations.”