You're Invited: An Evening to Highlight Health, Well-Being and Innovation

When Elly Zweigbaum found out the backpack she was holding cost $18 to put together, she got chills.
The backpack, part of an Angel Foundation pilot program for children with cancer and their families, was filled with treats and coping mechanisms. It included two guidebooks – one for the child and one for the parents – a stuffed bear, a journal, a stress ball, and a bracelet with a quote from Winnie the Pooh’s Christopher Robin: You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
Elly was visiting the Angel Foundation as a member of the Mount Sinai Community Foundation (MSCF), whose grant money enabled the Angel Foundation to roll out the pilot program. In this phase, backpacks will be distributed to 40 families.
“Visiting the Angel Foundation and seeing the specific way they are using our dollars was such a neat experience. And when we learned that the backpacks cost $18, chai, it struck a chord with me. I knew it was the right thing to be doing.”
Elly is just one of many young adults in the Twin Cities Jewish community looking to incorporate philanthropy into their lives. MSCF’s recently introduced collective giving model, called a giving circle, is a popular choice with young donors. Members pool their funds, contributing as little as $200 per year, and make informed decisions about exactly where the money goes.  This process enables donors to learn through doing and use research and collaboration to explore best practices.
MSCF is kicking off their new model next Tuesday at 7:30 pm at the Metropolitan Ballroom with an evening to highlight health, well-being and innovation in the community. The entire community is invited to learn how to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.
The organization builds on the legacy of Mount Sinai hospital, which was created in 1945 in the face of discrimination and anti-Semitism to allow anyone to practice medicine. When the hospital closed in 1991, MSCF was created to continue to meet the health needs of the community, providing financial support for initiatives that improve health or provide medical care.
Andrea Ferstan, who joined MSCF in May, was looking to fulfill the core value of tzedakah she learned growing up. “I like the idea of Jewish people coming together and giving to the community,” she said, assessing the impact of grants, to MSCF. “I like being a part of change. The new giving circle model that MSCF uses speaks to how giving is changing in our community.”
MSCF provides not only an entry into philanthropy, but an entry into the Jewish community. “I’m not all that connected in the Jewish community,” says Andrea, “but the idea of repairing the world with people of my faith is powerful.”
Sam Raiche joined MSCF for similar reasons when he moved back to his home of Minnesota after serving in the military.
“Maintaining my Jewish identity was a huge challenge in the military because I saw very few Jewish people,” says Sam. “When I got home, MSCF fulfilled the need to be and feel Jewish, and to be aware of and serve the community here.”
Besides being a contributing member of MSCF, Sam is also improving the organization’s social media presence. “This organization is all about people,” says Sam. “Supporting people, connecting to people. The ways we can do it now are faster, easier and better. The direction we’re going, we will definitely be better able to serve the community.”
The myriad of options available for charitable giving is overwhelming for many young adults. For Elly, the choice was clear. “Through MSCF, I can give a small amount of money and see where it’s going, see the progress and hear from the people I’ve helped.” Andrea agrees.
“Hearing the personal stories of lives we’ve touched – it’s really powerful.”
If you are interested in learning more about how you can directly affect the health of people in Minnesota, go inside the process of philanthropic giving and become an effective donor, join the Mount Sinai Community Foundation at the Metropolitan Ballroom on Tuesday, November 13 at 7:30 for the kickoff event. For more information, click here or contact Wendy Clyman at [email protected] or 952-417-2354.
To learn more about the Mount Sinai Community Foundation, please visit our website.