I’ve known Amy Bennaroch for over seven years now (wow, I’m getting old). She is a Jewish educator, a mother, and a full-time Jewish Doer. While she and I met through her husband, she and I instantly connected over our shared love the Jewish collective memory. In particular, Amy has been interested in activating her peers (younger, often progressive Jews) towards philanthropy. Enter Righteous Crowd.
Amy and her family had been discussing the ideas behind Righteous Crowd for a few years before they set to DOING. In a recent Zoom call with the 248Community Action Network, Amy described their desire to replicate the success of the Dollar A Day platform, but add in a focus on Jewish values and an element of education. The Dollar A Day platform encourages people to give a small gift (like a dollar a day – go figure) and each day the total proceeds go towards a different not-for-profit organization. This provides folks with an accessible way to make a meaningful impact.
Like I mentioned earlier, Amy is a Jewish educator. She and her family believed that the true value of the idea for Righteous Crowd was the Jewish Education component. They manifested this by matching Parshat Ha’Shavua (the weekly Torah portion), or upcoming Jewish holiday, with the organization to which the proceeds of their fundraising would go. This provided excellent opportunities to tie the education to the philanthropy, but also provided unique challenges in terms of content. Amy shared a story about their process for finding an organization that tied in with this week’s portion Metzora, which is all about leprosy.
Personally, I always struggle with finding ways to give in a meaningful way that resonates with my Jewish values, has impact, and is accessible on a budget. I didn’t get asked to write this up, I did it because I wanted to share this amazing initiative with my family and friends back home in Minneapolis. The coolest part is that this is just beginning for Righteous Crowd.
They’ve only been doing their thing for a few months and they are already raising about $1,500 a week. Because Amy and her family are donating their time, 100% of the proceeds are going straight to their partners (shout out to Moishe House for being their fiscal sponsor). They are also now exploring ways to partner with local communities (I’m looking at you, MSP) to fund things locally using their platform as well (i.e. local money goes to local orgs) and work with institutions like synagogues, Federations, etc.
This whole thing started with DOING. And I’ll be the first to admit that it took me over four months to finally sign up for myself on Righteous Crowd. But now I’m a funder too, and that means I’ll be advocating for the inclusion of some of MY favorite not-for-profit orgs. This is my invitation to learn about Righteous Crowd and all the amazing work they are doing.
Charley Smith served the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Jewish Federations by developing their platform for reaching young adults and millennials, YALA. Today he lives in Miami with his partner, Shaked, and their dog Gever. Charley continues his work with the Federations today managing Honeymoon Israel, Birthright Israel, and the local cohort of the 248Community Action Network.