The Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s board of trustees unanimously approved a high school student-run panel’s list of grant allocation recommendations for 14 Jewish and general service organizations, totaling $36,000, during the board’s virtual meeting May 25.

The Saltzman Youth Panel, which consists of 41 Jewish high school juniors and seniors from across Greater Cleveland, is a program where up-and-coming Jewish leaders learn about the philanthropic process and solving community needs, according to a news release.

Together, panelists work together to allocate as much as $50,000 each year to locally-serving organizations. Of the annual allocations, 85% is awarded to programs impacting the Jewish community and 15% is given to nonprofit programs aiding the general community.

This year’s recommended and approved grant allocations, as presented to board members by panelists Jason Kornbluth, a senior at Orange High School in Pepper Pike, and Paige Brown, a senior at Solon High School, included $4,000 to the Menorah Park Foundation for direct care costs for indigent patients facing end of life; $3,940 to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee for Jewish teens in St. Petersburg, Russia to develop and strengthen their Jewish identity and leadership skills; and $2,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Ohio to support ClubSmart locations to improve vulnerable youths’ success with remote learning.

“This year’s panel has shown incredible initiative and a sense of responsibility for our local and global Jewish community,” Federation board chair J. David Heller said in the release. “These impressive teens are taking their responsibility seriously!”

The Saltzman Youth Panel was established in 1998 through a gift from the late Shirley Saltzman and her family in memory of the late Maurice Saltzman, a former board chair of the Federation. Panelists create a request for proposals, review grant applications, learn about consensus decision making and work to help the community.

Panelists are selected through an application process, where those chosen this year met eight times throughout the school year. A team of Saltzman Youth Panel peer advisers – consisting of seven panel alumni from 2019-20 – was created to help convert the in-person program into one run digitally due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On top of the $36,000 in grants approved in May, the board also unanimously approved the panel’s recommended allocations of $6,000 to general community programs during a virtual board of trustees meeting Feb. 16.

Nominations are being accepted for rising high school juniors and seniors for the 2021-22 Saltzman Youth Panel. To apply, contact Anna Novik at or 216-593-2844. Applications are due by Aug. 6.

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