Danielle Gordman has been named Director of the Jewish Federation of Omaha’s new Young Jewish Giving (YJG) initiative, created, in her words, “to empower teens and college-aged students to make the world a better place by donating money to worthy causes engaged in meaningful work.” YJG will deliver fun, social, energetic and insightful programming built around tzedakah, its importance in Judaism and the responsibility to engage in acts of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. In addition, YJG will establish a $500.00 donor advised fund for each participant comprised of $125.00 contributed by the student and $375.00 provided by the Jewish Federation of Omaha and its partners. “Our goal is to inspire young people to want to make a difference in the community by providing both the knowledge and resources to be able to do so,” Gordman said. “Moreover, each participant can decide the organizations or causes to which they want to allocate their funds.”
A graduate of Indiana University with a BA in Political Science, Danielle received an MA in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She worked in politics at Peter Hart Research in Washington, D.C.; fundraising at Common Cause, also in D.C.; and worked at Heartland Family Service and Methodist Cancer Center in a counseling capacity. Danielle is a former board member of the Pennie Z Davis Child Development Center, JCC, ADL (for which she also acted as Education Chair), Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition and Nebraskans for Research. She is a current board member of Temple Israel as well as the Presenters, a guild for Omaha Performing Arts.
A program for youth philanthropy is not new to Omaha, Gordman explained. “The first iteration, B’nai Tzedek, began when Jordana Glazer brought the concept to the Jewish community in 2008 as a board member of the Foundation. “This year we have a record number of 7th graders in the three congregations,” Gordman said. “With 36 students in the B’nai Mitzvah class, this is a great time to revitalize the program. We hope our clergy and other congregational leaders will help get the message out.” YJG will officially launch on Sunday, Sept. 25, at the Community Federation Fair at Dave and Buster’s. The Continued from page 1
first education event is scheduled for later this fall after recruitment at each congregation. Non-affiliated teens are also welcome.
Gordman’s desire to assume the YJG Program Director role was motivated in part by her family’s year-long experience living in Barcelona, Spain, from where they returned in July. During their time abroad, the family had the opportunity to learn first-hand about the history and current situation of Jewish communities throughout Europe. “While we were living in Barcelona, I decided that when we returned I wanted to go back to work part time in a meaningful way that would impact the Jewish community,” Danielle said. “Louri Sullivan had mentioned that the Federation wanted to reinstate a giving program for teens and college students, which really appealed to me. I love the idea of working with Jewish teenagers, helping them understand the importance of philanthropy, and the fact that my two children are the target audience for Young Jewish Giving was icing on the cake. Zev will have his Bar Mitzvah at Temple Israel next May, and Harper is a freshman in high school, so I sat down with them at our kitchen table in Barcelona and explained the job. They thought it was a great program and loved the idea. When I pointed out that I would be working with them and their friends and asked if that was cool with them, they both replied, ‘Yes!’ Knowing that I would be working with my kids and their peers, and that I had their blessing – made it seem like the right fit at the right time for our family. We knew we loved Omaha before we departed, but being away helped us appreciate this community even more. We all wanted to live as intentionally as we were able to do in Spain, and taking this job allowed me to help fulfill this desire.”
For more information or to sign up for Young Jewish Giving, please contact Danielle Gordman at 402.334.6446 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.