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New VA Beach Giving Circle for Young Jewish Men a Blueprint for Success in Other Communities

November 21, 2017

Nadiv photo

When we saw the JCC campers playing with oversized Connect4 and checkers boards on the blacktop, an entire year of experimentation and hard work came full circle.

Yes, all the effort was worth it.

In fall 2016, the Young Adult Division (YAD) of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater (UJFT) piloted Nadiv (Hebrew for “generosity”), a giving circle for young professional Jewish men ages 22-45.

The idea stemmed from my participation in a giving circle for the broader Norfolk/Va Beach community. I thought: why not create a similar circle for young professional Jewish men – and keep the dollars raised inside our community?

In year one, Nadiv elected to donate our funds (about $800) to the JCC summer camp for the purchase of outdoor games. To raise the money, each of our 22 members contributed $36 dues. (We have since raised dues to $54/year.)

Nadiv meets monthly for a one-hour lunch meeting to hear from a speaker on a business/career-oriented topic and then discuss plans to give charitably within the local Jewish community. As of fall 2017, the group has 25 active members.

Why create a giving circle for young Jewish men? Let me count the ways:

  • Millennials—men and women—want hands-on philanthropy. Check.
  • Nadiv serves as an entry point for engagement and many of our members had little prior experience with local Jewish agencies. Plus (and this is important) the $54 donation has not inhibited how our members give to Federation at large. Check.
  • Since we meet every month, Nadiv members see each other regularly and can build lasting relationships, which are critical to the long-term health of our community. Check.
  • The business/civic speakers help Nadiv members grow in their careers and as leaders in their field. Check.
  • We also count among our members a young professional community rabbi who provides a brief d’var at the end of each meeting. Check.
Nadiv meetingTo recap, Nadiv provides a space for philanthropy, social action, an entry point for Jewish engagement, relationship building, brotherhood, business/career advice and Judaism.

All from a meeting once a month for an hour.

“Nadiv is such an innovative project,” said inaugural member Byron Harrell, a financial advisor in Virginia Beach. “We become closer as young professionals and help people in our Jewish community. A total win-win.”

Now in year two, Nadiv has even greater ambitions. We plan to host an arts and crafts activity for children while parents volunteer to make phone calls on Super Sunday, the Federation’s annual pledge drive in January.

As well, Nadiv hopes to run a series of carnival games in the spring at our Jewish community’s largest annual gathering, Israel Fest. The purpose, as always, is manifold: to give our members a project they can own year over year, raise additional money for the giving circle and gain more visibility for our efforts.

And we’re in the process of making Nadiv polo shirts 😊

The bottom line: Nadiv creates brotherhood, helps young men in their careers and allows them to make a difference.

It’s a recipe for success, and we’re just getting started.

I encourage anyone interested in starting Nadiv in their own community to contact me at [email protected]. As this project is new and evolving, I’m also open to how we can make the project even more impactful for members and our community at large.

Danny Rubin is a public relations professional (can you tell?) in Virginia Beach. He founded Nadiv in fall 2016. He also serves as the 2017-2018 campaign chair for the Young Adult Division of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.