Two Atlanta based non-profits, Second Helpings Atlanta (SHA) and Creating Connected Communities (CCC), the host organization for Amy’s Holiday Party, are both recent recipients of grants from The Good People Fund. The Fund discovers and supports small, effective tzedakah initiatives in the United States and Israel dedicated to tikkun olam (repairing the world) that might otherwise fall below the radar screen of larger charities. Together, they received opening grants of nearly $10,000, and they will also benefit from ongoing management guidance to help grow their great work.
What sets these two Atlanta-based organizations apart from the many other nonprofits out there is that they were the result of two Jewish visionaries looking to solve problems of hunger and helping kids from disadvantaged families. These organizations used their creative vision to help meet basic human needs, while operating with very low overhead and generating the most inspiring results. These two ‘good people’-led nonprofits join nearly seventy other nonprofits financially supported and professionally guided by The Good People Fund (www.goodpeoplefund.org).
In 2004, SHA (www.secondhelpingsatlanta.org) was founded by congregant Guenther Hecht as a social action project of Temple Sinai in Sandy Springs. Today, as an independent nonprofit organization, since January 2013, it harnesses a force of nearly four hundred volunteer families and individuals to rescue food from restaurants, supermarkets, churches, individual donors, schools, caterers, bakeries, and many more establishments, which would otherwise go to waste. It distributes the food to community agencies within the metropolitan Atlanta area to feed people that are homeless, abused or living in poverty. SHA has collected and distributed nearly 3.5 million pounds of food. The Good People Fund grant for $5,000 will go towards general operations.
Down the road, Creating Connected Communities (www.cccprojects.org) provides leadership training for teens to work with vulnerable children receiving services from Atlanta’s local agencies. Each year CCC mentors 30-40 Atlanta teens, raises their awareness on issues relating to homelessness and teaches them important advocacy skills. CCC plans on-site social and educational activities at local shelters, and as a capstone project, plans and hosts Amy’s Holiday Party for more than 700 underprivileged children from the greater Atlanta area. The Good People Fund grant will underwrite increased busing to bring additional children to CCC events as well as costs involved in their Spring event.
Coincidentally, the Fund was introduced to SHA by one of Temple Sinai’s associate rabbis, Elana E. Perry. Rabbi Perry’s Bat Mitzvah project involved collecting toiletries for battered women and homeless people; and by the time she graduated high school, she was collecting upwards of 100,000 toiletries and sending out start-up kits to others. She was recognized as a ‘mitzvah hero’ by Danny Siegel, author of numerous books on tzedakah, mitzvahs and Bar and Bat Mitzvah projects.
Before starting the Good People Fund, Naomi Eisenberger worked closely with Danny Siegel, Ziv’s founder and chair, to guide Ziv’s expansion and growth. “It is inspiring to see the deep roots of Rabbi Perry’s commitment to social action evolve into her work as a rabbi today,” explains Naomi Eisenberger, Executive Director of the Good People Fund.
It seems that both organizations have a link to the power and teaching of social responsibility to young adults, teen philanthropy and an investment in tzedakah that should not go unnoticed. At the age of 12, Amy Sacks Zeide was devastated after watching a TV news report where someone had stolen all the presents from an Atlanta homeless shelter just before their annual Holiday Party, leaving the children with nothing. Amy then donated her time and the money she received from her Bat Mitzvah to throw a holiday party for the children at a local Atlanta shelter. Today she serves as the Executive Director of CCC.
Eisenberger plans to visit those involved with these organizations in the coming months. “People like Guenther and Amy prove our belief that it is most often good people, responding to a need in our world, who can effect change and inspire all of us to do the same. We pride ourselves on identifying good people doing great work to help others,” says Eisenberger. “Our focus is on these good people and their often unnoticed efforts. With the help of our donors our wish is to nurture and grow these programs to a point where they can succeed and gain wider recognition.”
For further information, photos or to speak with Naomi, Amy, Guenther or David Schoenberg (current SHA President) please contact Rachel Litcofsky at 508-314-4304 or Rachel@goodpeoplefund.org
Founded in 2008, The Good People Fund, inspired by the Jewish concept of tikkun olam (repairing the world), responds to significant problems such as poverty, disability, trauma and social isolation, primarily in the United States and Israel. We provide financial support and management guidance for small to medium grassroots efforts. Our grant recipients are leading their non-profits with annual budgets under $500,000 and no professional development staff but are driven and determined to make a difference in their communities. With its guiding philosophy that small actions can have huge impacts and its emphasis on the personal connection, the GPF has raised and granted more than $6 million dollars since its inception in 2008. Further information can be found at www.goodpeoplefund.org.
Contact: Rachel Litcofsky 508-314-4304 | Rachel@goodpeoplefund.org twitter: @goodpeoplefund | facebook.com/thegoodpeoplefund