“Make it happen” has long been a catch phrase in our Foundation. It stems from something I often tell the professionals and young adults with whom I have the privilege to speak: financial support may make change possible, but people make change happen.
Today, with the launch of our #MakeItHappen campaign, these words have officially moved from concept to action—much like the ideas at the heart of the campaign.
#MakeItHappen invites young adults worldwide to submit inspiring ideas for a project, event or program that will engage their peers in a meaningful Jewish experience in their local community. We will select up to 50 projects from around the world to receive micro grants of up to $1,000. Some may even receive $5,000.
I am really excited about this new initiative for several reasons.
1. It’s the first time we are opening up a pool of micro grants to the broader community.
For more than three years, we have offered micro grants to participants in our ROI Community and REALITY programs, as well as in select communities like Cape Town, South Africa, and St. Petersburg, Russia. We have seen through these programs how small investments can empower people to take the next, or even initial, step on a leadership journey.
Now, with this initiative, anyone can apply online in less than 10 minutes. For many young Jews, a #MakeItHappen micro grant may represent their “first yes” and the realization that Jewish community values what they have to contribute to a vibrant Jewish future. For us, it is an opportunity to learn about the experiences young Jewish adults believe are needed in their local communities.
2. All of the great ideas people submit will be displayed on the #MakeItHappen website.
It is my sincere hope that people will take advantage of the feature that allows them to connect with others who have submitted ideas and volunteer to help with their projects. Even more, I hope local organizations will take note of the projects proposed in their own backyards and consider supporting them as well. We invite any organization to be in touch with our team if they are interested in learning more.
3. #MakeItHappen is one example of how Jewish organizations can use new tools and technologies to engage individuals in ways that speak to their personal interests while ensuring they are connected to the global Jewish community. The digital world may not be native to me, but I do believe it has a critical role to play in ensuring a Jewish future that will increasingly be built on the ideas, talent and creativity of people working in partnership in and across communities.
Through our work, we see every day that young people do in fact care about and are proud of being Jewish. When given the opportunity, they eagerly embrace their Jewish identities, draw on Jewish values to better the world and connect Jewishly in creative ways through culture, arts, the environment, service, social entrepreneurship and much more.
We are convinced that investing in inspiring people and ideas is the best way to ensure a vibrant Jewish future, and we are steadfast in our belief in the power and promise of young people to shape and perpetuate it.
That is why we hope you will join us in sharing the #MakeItHappen campaign with anyone who you believe may have an idea to contribute. The more ideas submitted, the more new experiences we can seed and the more we can learn about potential leaders in our communities.
Together, let’s go make it happen!