The giving of tzedakah is one of the foundations of Jewish tradition. The Hebrew word “natan,” meaning to give, is a palindrome. You can read it forward or backward and it reads the same. You might think you are giving, but in reality you are receiving also. That is the true nature of tzedakah.
Knowing how important giving tzedakah is in Jewish tradition and wanting to carry this forward to the modern donor, Carly Rothenberg Friedman, originally from Woodmere, New York, founded MyTzedakah Fund. MyTzedakah Fund engages the next generation of donors and educates them about charities that need their help. It empowers this new generation to become committed members of the Jewish nonprofit space.
MyTzedakah Fund’s approach to attracting donors is not old-school or traditional. There are no fancy dinners, mail or phone campaigns. Instead, meeting the needs of millennials, giving your halachic requirement is simple, fluid, seamless and, most importantly, as meaningful as possible. Growing up with Jewish philanthropy as a constant in her life and in her professional career, Rothenberg Friedman, who now lives in Jerusalem, created MyTzedakah Fund to make giving tzedakah empowering and social.
The way MyTzedakah Fund works is that donors are prompted to choose from different charitable categories that interest them. Categories include children’s organizations, women’s organizations, Jewish education, Israel defense, health and welfare, special needs, Israel advocacy, and Torah education. If there is a particular charity that you would like to select and it does not appear on the platform, you can recommend it and MyTzedakah Fund will vet it.
Donors then add charities that MyTzedakah Fund offers in those categories. They choose an amount that they want to give each month that makes sense to their lifestyle; name their tzedakah fund; and their tzedakah fund is complete. You have the ability to change and edit specifics.
After your donation is processed, you will be taken to your tzedakah fund, where all of your information is hosted. MyTzedakah Fund uses an advanced digital platform that puts you in control. There is even a feature that allows you to connect to Facebook if you choose, so that you can see where your friends are donating. This feature is socially integrated and is a huge motivating factor for this new generation. And you won’t want to cancel because everything is automated and just so easy!
MyTzedakah Fund is a micro-giving platform. It’s done for you. You don’t have to take out your credit card and most importantly, monthly micro-donations are not going to break your bank, but they create sustainability for nonprofits.
MyTzedakah Fund also can teach your children about charitable giving. The platform has a special feature whereby you can enter your child’s email address and how much you are gifting them. They then receive an email letting them know that you have gifted them a certain dollar amount and the child can set up their own tzedakah fund.
Charities can utilize MyTzedakah Fund for free, and all money raised through the platform is transferred directly to the charity. In exchange, the charities provide complete information on how the money will be used. MyTzedakah Fund promises true transparency. Donors are sent impact reports so that they can see what they helped accomplish. The charities are given the emails of the donors and MyTzedakah Fund insists the charities reach out to the donors personally.
The goal of MyTzedakah Fund is to help the next generation of Jewish people get into the habit of donating to charities that are meaningful to them, and make this a part of their lives. It is all about nurturing relationships between the donor and the charity. “Millennials will be engaged and passionate about giving if you give them the right tools,” said Rothenberg Friedman.
For more information, visit https://www.mytzedakah.com/jlink.
Susan R. Eisenstein is a longtime Jewish educator, passionate about creating special innovative activities for her students. She is also passionate about writing about Jewish topics and writing about Israel. Susan has two master’s degrees and a doctorate in education from Columbia University