Teenage Rebellion

Toby Klein

by Toby Klein for JUF News

"So who exactly is going to take you seriously," a neighbor laughs. "Don't underestimate us," I warned. "You'll soon see we're more than Jewish summer camp rejects..." Read More »

Making Mitzvot part of your Bar or Bat Mitzvah

Bar Mitzvah Guide

See TOV's Guide to Making Mitzvot Part of Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah

Israel Experience

Israel Experience

Redeem your Jewish Federation Israel Experience Funds 
(including SKIP, Gift of Israel, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Certificates and Walk with Israel Vouchers)

Voices: The Chicago Jewish Teen Foundation

Each year, approximately 25 outstanding Jewish teens are selected to participate in Voices: The Chicago Jewish Teen Foundation based upon their outstanding academic achievements, exceptional extracurricular activities, and proven leadership abilities. Now in its eighth year, Voices provides a forum to Chicago area Jewish teens from diverse religious and social backgrounds to meet one another in a fun and challenging atmosphere.

Over the course of the academic year, the teens work together as a real philanthropic foundation. Kicking of the year with a full-day retreat and continuing with regular monthly meetings, they:

  • learn the ins and outs of both the grant making and grant writing process
  • apply Jewish values to philanthropy
  • acquire critical research skills
  • hone leadership abilities
  • debate social justice issues
  • participate in intensive training on how to solicit and evaluate grant proposals from non-profits
  • conduct site visits, utilizing professional interviewing techniques
  • challenge each other to make thoughtful, insightful grants that address the causes that matter most to them
Take a look at the projects & organizations that Voices has funded in the past!

At the end of the year, teen board members work together to grant over $25,000 to both Jewish and secular charities in Chicago, across the country, and all around the world. Voices is a very real, very substantial demonstration not only of tzedakah and tikkun olam, but of the tremendous social and financial impact that tomorrow's grant makers can have upon the world TODAY.

Now's Your Chance

You've always dreamed of a world where every child has enough to eat and a roof overhead, where diseases are conquered and the environment is protected, where all peoples live in harmony and all nations are at peace.

Now you can do more than dream.

Check out this video to see
what Voices is really like!

Think about what you could do with $25,000. That could buy a lot of hot meals. It could provide a lot of medicine, shelter or job training. It could fund a lot of literacy or tolerance workshops. Or all of the above. It's up to you.

You can Make a Difference

We think of tzedakah as the act of giving charity and tikkun olam as the commitment to repair the world, one good deed at a time. Voices: The Chicago Jewish Teen Foundation invites you to combine tzedakah and tikkun olam in an exciting new way. We'll provide the money. You provide the ideas, the passion, the voice.

Apply Today!

Voices meets monthly throughout the school year on Sundays and for a minimum of two hours each meeting. Voices is available to students in 9th - 12th grades and open to students from all streams of Judaism. Throughout the program, all religious practices will be respected, and dietary laws will be strictly observed. Before you apply, you must be ready to make Voices a priority and you must be ready to read, write, listen, think, debate, wrestle and apply yourself throughout the year-long program. Homework (don’t worry, it’s never any more than an hour or so of work!) is assigned on a monthly basis and completion of all assignments is mandatory. Success of the program depends upon your FULL participation because your fellow board members will depend on you throughout the year. Be prepared to communicate with them on Facebook, through email, or on the phone outside of the context of board meetings.

Attendance at the seven board meetings, the opening and closing dinners, the all-day retreat, and the all-day site visit day is mandatory (unless previously discussed with Voices staff prior to the meetings). Board meetings are typically about 3 hours long and they happen in a variety of locations (synagogues, JCCs, participants’ homes, etc…). Most meetings occur in the late afternoon and early evening. See the dates and meeting descriptions on the application not only to get a good idea about what we will be working on throughout the year.

Ready to apply? Click here for the application!

For Grant Seekers

Voices: The Chicago Jewish Teen Foundation 2014-2015 grant making cycle is now open to receive grant proposals! Please note that we are operating two distinct foundations this year (as with last year): Voices: The Chicago Jewish Teen Foundation (aka Voices 101) AND Voices: The Alumni Foundation.

Voices 101

Voices 101 has approximately $30,000 to allocate this year. This amount will be divided among the four area of interest committees the teens have divided into. Voices 101 grants typically range in the $4,000-$6,000 range. The committees are: Aid to Israel, Education, Basic Needs, and Human Rights.

Each Voices 101 committee has its own RFP and its own set of grant guidelines that are attached to this email. Grantee organizations that meet the grant guidelines can absolutely apply to more than one committee for funding (including the ALUMNI Foundation), as long as it is for different projects. 

Voices: The Alumni Foundation

Voices: The Alumni Foundation is aiming to allocate around $20,000. The Alumni Foundation will most likely make fewer but larger grants than Voices 101, most likely in the $6,000-$8,000 range. The Alumni are divided into 4 committees, each with its own RFP and set of grant guidelines. The committees are: Aid to Israel, Health & Medicine, Jobs Training, and Basic Needs.

Grantee organizations that meet the grant guidelines can absolutely apply to more than one committee for funding (including the Voices 101 Foundation), as long as it is for different projects.

Please note that grant applications for both foundations are due by Friday, February 21st, and grant decisions will be made in May. If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Goldfarb by calling 312-444-2802 or writing to