“BBYO’s role in the Jewish community is vital. For too many young Jews, bar and bat mitzvahs mark a drop off point in Jewish life. We're giving teens the chance to be part of a Jewish community and, even more importantly, giving them the chance to decide—on their own terms—what it means to be Jewish and how to make a difference in the world.
“When the Schusterman Foundation first got involved in 1999, BBYO faced formidable challenges. It was under-resourced, involvement was down to 12,000 teens and there was little optimism. But where others saw decline, the Schustermans saw potential.
“In 2002, the Schusterman Foundation orchestrated BBYO’s independence from B’nai B’rith. They encouraged the organization’s teen leaders, professionals and alumni to dream big as the Foundation began to invest big. This gave birth to new strategies and hope – and BBYO began to grow.
“We are confident that we are doing some of the most important work in the Jewish community. We're bringing leadership experiences to teens and encouraging them to apply those skills to things that make the Jewish community stronger. We are on track to reach more than 50,000 teens annually by 2016; a group who will be asked to do the same thing that the Schusterman Foundation asked BBYO to do in 2002 – ‘dream big.’”
Read more about our work in Jewish Community