Building Young Leadership

Early on, leaders of The Associated realized the importance of attracting the next generation to the cause. The Young Leadership Council dates to 1928. The thinking was that given the opportunity to see at close range the work of The Associated and its agencies, young people with a sense of community responsibility would support this undertaking with both time and money. The other was the belief that those people who went on to responsible positions within The Associated would be equipped with prior knowledge and understanding to render better and more meaningful service.

The program included working on the annual campaigns, touring agency facilities, attending lectures and engaging in discussions with leaders of The Associated and the professional heads of its agencies.

Younger people were invited to join the the Youth Advisory Council, which dates to 1951 and consisted of 12 boys and girls who were recommended by their Sunday School principals and represented a cross-section of the city.

In 1959, Louis Fox (ID HIM), established the Harry Greenstein Young Leadership Award, named after the executive director of The Associated from 1928 to 1965. The purpose of the award was “to give recognition to young people of outstanding prominence who have shown active interest in and devotion to the Associated Jewish Charities and Jewish Welfare Fund of Baltimore.” The honor is still awarded today to young men and women who have demonstrated a profound commitment and sustained leadership to The Associated, its annual campaign and the general community.

The Associated’s commitment to fostering the growth of tomorrow’s Jewish leaders extends to even teenage members of the community. Housed at the JCC’s 4Front, programs range from a Social Innovation Fellowship, a hands-on entrepreneurship program that empowers Jewish teens to be changemakers, Diller Teen Fellows, an immersive leadership program involving teens from six continents and 32 communities to step up and The Teen Service Council for teens in grades 10 to 12 who want to make a difference in the Baltimore community. There’s also the Middle School Leadership Council, a group of teen leaders who work together to create programs for their peers while gaining leadership and team building skills.

As part of the Centennial, The Associated launched a new Center for Leadership that brought together three organizations — DFI, Acharai and The Associated’s Center for Community Engagement and Leadership. This new initiative will provide opportunities for lay volunteers and professionals to learn and grow as the leaders of tomorrow, becoming a powerful force in helping create a strong Jewish community for generations.

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