Three giving circles have recently emerged in the community. The newest, the NOWGen Giving Circle, is a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix’s Now Generation initiative, engaging 20- to 30-somethings in philanthropy and community.
“We were delighted to hear about this group of young Jewish adults who were eager to make an impact on the community and immediately began working with the founders, Jonny [Basha] and Blaine [Light], to help these young adults know the joys of philanthropy and leadership,” said Federation President and CEO Stuart Wachs.
Jonny Basha, one of the circle’s co- founders and chair of the Federation’s new Chai Tech networking group, shared the inspiration for the circle, “We got the idea at a party when we were looking around at the 40 or so people there and thinking, ‘wouldn’t it be nice if these people could give in a meaningful way?’ It’s harder for those of us who are just starting in our careers to give large amounts, but by combining with others, we can have an impact.”
Basha said he and those of his generation want to give in a meaningful way, realizing that they were beneficiaries of the generosity of others for the first 25 years of their lives when they participated in programs such as Chabad, Hillel, Hebrew High, BBYO, Birthright— programs made possible by the gifts of the community.
“As a program of the Federation, we approach the giving circle the same way we approach our NOWGen initiative, as a resource to help young Jewish men and women to become leaders within the community, both philanthropically and through their time and wisdom,” said Wachs. “We believe they are not the next generation to be taught by us, but rather, they are incredibility innovative and passionate and capable of making an impact now.”
Members of the Federation’s NOWGen Giving Circle contribute a minimum of $500 and meet monthly to network and share. The Federation provides funding and guidance to the circle.
“When we get together, it often turns into a deep discussion about our life goals and how giving has impacted our lives—we hear stories each month about how giving is returned to the giver,” said Basha. “We are thankful to the many organizations that helped form who we are, that sustain our Jewish identity.”
Those interested in applying for a grant can visit bit.ly/NOWgenGiving.