Our Tzedakah Collective is an annual opportunity for members of the Highland Park Minyan to have a group discussion about the needs in our community and beyond, and the greater impact that we can have by pooling our resources and making larger donations in the name of the Highland Park Minyan. Each year, we nominate a number of charities that will be the potential recipients of our group donations. Our members select the charities by voting for their preferred recipients at the time that they make their contribution to the Collective. The total amount of money that we receive is divided equally, and contributed to the charities receiving the greatest number of votes. This year, 2009, we can vote for 6 preferred recipients out of 14 nominees. Our votes are due by December 1.
Our procedure gives us an opportunity to help groups that may have a particular need in any given year, educates Minyan members about worthwhile charities to which they may want to make individual contributions, and educates individuals and groups about the Highland Park Minyan and our commitment to justice so that they will know that they have friends in their own community and beyond.
In 2008, we heard daily about the impact of the current financial crisis on the global economy, on lending institutions, and on the stock market. What we didn’t hear about were the stories of people in our own community who were already struggling and were now struggling even more. Therefore, we focused on small local groups where our donations would have the greatest impact. Even at a time when the economy was "frozen", and donations to charities plummeted, contributions to the 2008 Tzedakah Collective were at an all-time high. In 2008, our Minyan community raised $5,814! Thirty-seven individuals/families (almost 50% of those who received the mailing) participated in the collective act of tzedakah. Based on the votes, a check for $646 was distributed to each of the following nine groups:
Some of the responses we have received from organizations receiving our donation...
From the Affordable Housing Coalition of the Reformed Church of Highland Park:
Dear Members of the Tzedakah Collective - I am so thankful for the generosity you've shown us, with the gift from this year's collection. Like you, we believe that justice is a key component of faith, and encouragement from friends and neighbors like you pushes us on in the work. Peace to you all, Pastor Seth
From the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund:
Much thanks for your continuing support and your words of encouragement! I've just returned from three weeks in Israel including 9 powerful days with Rabbis for Human Rights. They are a most impressive group. Happy Chanukah to all. Fondly, Ruth
From the Jewish Social Service Committee of New Brunswick and Highland Park:
On behalf of the Jewish Social Service Committee I thank you for your donation of $646. Please convey our thanks to all those involved in the HP Minyan Tzedakah Collective. Your entire donation will be used in the community, since we are an all volunteer organization with no overhead or operating expenses, which are donated. - Lee Livingston