Monday, June 29, 2015

Project IMPACT 2015 Allocations

Each year, Davis Academy 7th grade students form a temporary philanthropic organization tasked with the challenge of identifying worthy charities on a local, national, and Israel level. The following, written by our 7th grade Jewish Studies teacher who oversees the process, is a write-up of the 2015 process as well as the recipient organizations. 

Judaism is many things.  We are a religion, a nation, a culture.  We share our heritage and our memories; we share in, we hope, a brighter future.  Most importantly (at least at this moment), we believe that the brighter future we hope for must be built by human hands.  We practice Tikkun Olam, the practice of fixing an imperfect and broken world, and in so doing become partners with God in creation.  In Project Impact, your generosity allows the students to learn about this practice, to advocate for it, and ultimately, to participate in it. 

This trimester we studied tzedakah, including why we give, where we should give, and how we should give.  We cultivated the idea of both global and local responsibility, and the mitzvah, the commandment, to see the world through generous eyes.  In this we were supported greatly by the American Jewish World Service and their Where Do You Give Curriculum.  We learned how to analyze a charity’s fiscal responsibility, and then designed ad campaigns and solicitation letters to “sell” a variety of wonderful and worthy causes.

This year, we are supporting the following 3 organizations.

Locally, we are going to support the GA Transplant Foundation.  (  The mission of the Georgia Transplant Foundation is to help meet the needs of organ transplant candidates, living donors, recipients and their families by providing information and education regarding organ transplantation, granting financial assistance and being an advocate for sustaining and enriching lives every day.  In big ways and small, GA Transplant gives of themselves to those who literally give of themselves, and to those who desperately need the giving.  We thank Olivia Sidman and Audra Buffington for campaigning for this organization.

Nationally, we are honored to support St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital (.  Founded in 1962, St. Jude’s has been fighting children’s cancer through pioneering research and treatments, so that no child dies in the dawn of life. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs they make, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children.  We thank Nicole Ganelin and Isabelle Mokotoff for their work on their behalf.

We are also pleased to sustain our brothers and sisters in Israel.  This year, we are glad to support Dogs for People ( Rescued dogs rehabilitate people in a unique therapeutic program devised by an Israeli trainer for at-risk and special-needs youth.  The dogs are rescued from the streets of Ashdod and Ashkelon, trained as therapy dogs, and then brought to children with PTSD, autism, or troubled childhoods. The dogs help them find stability and comfort, and go on to live more well-adjusted lives.  We thank Audrey Gruenhut and Gabi Louis for supporting this group and their work.

All of the students did a brilliant job.  If you traverse the halls of Davis, you can see their posters and videos, and learn about many other wonderful organizations.  We hope talking to your children about Project Impact will be inspiring for you.

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