Youth & Philanthropy

by Josh Kerr | Sep 29, 2022

Tzedakah —often translated as charity—is a mainstay of Jewish life. Literally translated as 'justice' or 'righteousness,' Tzedakah tells us that sharing what we have with others isn't something special. It's the honest and just thing to do.

The Youth and Philanthropy Program at Gray Academy helps drive this message home, teaching high school students the importance of Tzedakah while allowing them to see the difference their generosity makes. 

The Youth in Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) Canada was founded in 2002 to strengthen support for local social issues by empowering young people to determine where grant dollars would be best put to use in their own communities. The program is offered to secondary schools throughout Canada.  

At Gray Academy, the program forms a part of the Gemilut Chasadim course, which is shaped around YPI to make the experience more meaningful. Gemulit Chasadim is the concept of showing personal kindness toward others. The grade 10 students spend their classes researching different non-profit organizations, after which, they present to their peers about the organization they wish to support. The students then compare, contrast, and eventually compromise on where their donations should go. This year, the students supported Willow Place and Bear Clan Patrol. 

"The program leads the students toward growth in their consciousness about community involvement," says Shlomo Arava, Judaic Studies Teacher, and Facilitator of the YPI program at Gray Academy. "A lot of students don't necessarily know much about social issues in our city, going on around them."

"At some point on their journeys, these students will hopefully look to give money to charity once again, and this program is designed to teach the complexity and the power of that," says Arava. "It is truly an eye-opening and fascinating mode of education for these students."

The Jewish Foundation of Manitoba is proud to provide matching money to the $2,500 from YPI Canada, allowing the students to give out $5,000 in meaningful donations. The Foundation also provides $500 to cover programming costs for the year. These funds are provided through our Community Impact Grants.