By: Matthew Yatovitz
Teen Giving Initiative (TGI) member
Through THE ASSOCIATED: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimiore and Jewish Volunteer Connection’s Teen Giving Initiative (TGI), I, as well as 19 other TGI fellows, have learned grant writing and the allocations process. The grant process — deciding who to give to — was very strenuous, but it was also very rewarding and educational. Prior to this wonderful experience, I had very little knowledge about what a grant was, and how it was used. Through the leadership of our amazing advisor, Amy Goldberg, we all gained the knowledge that would help us in this monumental decision.
The process started with the request for proposal (RFP) that we sent out to both organizations that we had researched as well as ones that we wanted to know more about. We then received back about half of the RFP’s that were sent out. These were the grant proposals.
All the fellows read the proposals, and the grant-processing chair for each group sent an email to the organizations with questions we had regarding their operation and their proposal. As grant-processing chair, I got first-hand experience when I did a site visit at the Incentive Mentoring Program, which ended up being one of the organizations that we allocated money. My two grant process co-chairs visited other organizations in Baltimore that applied for the grants.
After we received answers to our questions and went on site visits, we came together once again to decide on the two or three organizations that we would fund. We then rated each organization and their proposal. After we decided which organizations to give to, we had to decide which portion of our funds would go to each organization.
We decided to give 60 percent toward hunger, tutoring and bullying efforts at The Incentive Mentoring Program, 30 percent toward the Help Our Hero’s Veteran’s Initiative through Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, and 10 percent to KIPP Baltimore’s KaBOOOM playground build. We decided this percentage breakdown by discussing how our money would benefit them, and how much of the money they requested they would actually need to get the program funded.
We then notified the organizations that we decided to fund that we were going to fund them. During our TGI closing program on May 5, we awarded these deserving organizations with checks for their programs and the process was then completed.
The complicated decision on the grant awarding was very difficult, because there were many extremely commendable programs. It was unfortunate that we weren’t able to give to all of them. However, through the step-by-step process that we went through, we were all content with the decision that we made, because we knew that these organizations were the most worthy.
The process of grant-writing and the decision of the granting of funds is a skill that will help me in life, as I intend to pursue a career in business. This experience was extremely rewarding as it will help me in my Jewish fulfillment of the mitzvah of philanthropy.
Learn about our teen programs and teen volunteer opportunities at jvcbaltimore.org.