Do Not Stand Idly By

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This was my final year as a member of the Rose Youth Foundation.  I will treasure the time I have spent with this group of kind, intelligent and motivated young philanthropists.  Our giving was formed in the basis of three important Jewish Values:

Lo ta’amod al dam rei-echa, Do Not Stand Idly By

Darchei Shalom, The Path of Peace

Chesed, Loving Kindness

We used these values to help guide us through the difficult and painful task of better understanding the violent crime of sexual assault.  Our research showed us that every two minutes another American is sexually assaulted.  But even closer to home, we saw the effects firsthand among our teenage peers. We believe there is a rape culture in our country that accepts sexual violence as the norm.   As Lo ta’amod al dam rei-cha has taught us, we are strongly compelled to help address this problem in our own community.  As a future college student, I am particularly concerned by the prevalence of this crime on college campuses.  It is imperative that we learn to not only identify, but also stop sexual assault before it happens in order to break the cycle of violence.  The Rose Youth Foundation made it our priority for the 2016-2017 session to fund programs that would help cultivate healthy relationships in young people.  In particular we also recognized that LGBTQ+ people and homeless people are more at risk than others.  In fact Twenty-one percent of LGBTQ+ college students have been sexually assaulted compared to 18 percent of non-LGBTQ+ college females and 4 percent of non-LGBTQ+ college males.

It might seem like a really easy task to give away $60K, but I can tell you from the two years I’ve spend on this foundation it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  It seems like a lot of money until the grant requests begin rolling in and you realize that you can’t fund everyone, even if the work they are doing is crucial to our community. We had to set perimeters for our giving in order to be able to come to a consensus as a group.  The priorities this year included:

Sexual assault prevention and education programs, including but not limited to those focused on risk-reduction, changing social norms and promoting healthy relationships.

Treatment programs and services for victims of sexual assault, including but not limited to therapy and counseling.  Also priority was given to programs serving LGBTQ+ people and the homeless.

As I am moving on from the Foundation there is an empty space on the board.  I encourage all of my Jewish friends to apply to this life changing program.  Be prepared to work hard, attend all the meetings, do the necessary research, encourage your fellow board members, argue your point respectfully, be engaged and ask questions during site visits.  And finally, be proud of the work you have done on behalf of the Jewish community.  Believe me when I tell you that you will never be able to put a price on what you will get out of this experience.  But you will be able to put some serious money into the hands of some very deserving organizations, such as this year’s recipients:

SungateKids
The Blue Bench
Project PAVE
WINGS Foundation
Colorado Youth Matter

Below is the parting speech I gave at the final celebration.  I plan to visit next year to lend my support and experience to the newest members.  I want to make sure I’m helping to fertilize our “roses” for many years to come.

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