Kehila Tzedakah Guidelines

Kehila Tzedakah Guidelines

Sunday School Tzedakah collectionKehila publically states that we repair the world:

  • Through chesed (loving kindness and all our best inclinations) we take care of our Kehila community members in times of illness or trouble.
  • Through tikkun olam (healing the world) we give of ourselves in social action — feeding, clothing and sheltering those less fortunate, advocating for those in need, cleaning and preserving the environment.
  • Through tzedakah (giving to the poor) we pool our members' donations and select local, national, international, Jewish, and nonsectarian causes to support.
  • Through community and personal commitment to the Earth, haAdamah, we seek to repair and care for the environment.

Allocating donations

  • Donations should be allocated to organizations and needs that are aligned with Kehila’s values.  They can include tikkun olam and can be local, national, Jewish, Israel focused or international.   
  • The allocations should reflect a balanced portfolio of the many concerns and needs that Kehila holds.
  • Kehila members are encouraged to suggest organizations appropriate for receiving allocations from the Tzedakah fund.
  • Allocations may be made to address emergencies, e.g.  natural disasters.  Ideally the funds would be allocated through organizations  that have a strong track record of philanthropy consistent with Kehila’s values.
  • Allocations should be handled in such a fashion that they do not create the appearance of a conflict of interest.  For example, if a Kehila member serves on the Board of an organization receiving an allocation, that information should disclosed in the interest of transparency. 
  • Allocations may leverage/complement volunteer work that Kehila members participate in, e.g., Shepherd’s Table.
  • Modest allocations may also be made to organizations in which a Kehila member has a special one-time interest—e.g.  a bar mitzvah project.  In those cases the Kehila allocation should not normally exceed $180. This amount may be periodically reviewed and updated by the Committee. 
  • The Committee supports the idea of matching Tzedakah funds collected by Kehila Sunday School classes and will work with the School head to facilitate this idea.
  • Donations should normally be allocated to organizations with a clear tax-exempt status, e.g. 501(3)(c) status and that have a high rating on Charity Navigator or similar resources
  • Allocations cannot be made for a political campaign or other partisan activity.
  • Allocations should be made throughout the year.  The Committee may wish to keep a reserve fund in order to be responsive to emergencies, but should keep this reserve at no more than $2000.

Processing  Tzedakah donations

  • Donations should be acknowledged as soon as possible.
  • Purpose of the donation (in honor of, in memory of, etc.) should be noted in the Newsletter.
  • Donations should be provided to the Treasurer for deposit as soon as possible.  If a donation is made to the Rabbi’s discretionary fund, the Rabbi should be informed.
  • The committee member processing donations should retain a list of those donations.
  • Processing of Yiskor donations is handled directly by the High Holiday committee.
  • A list of organizations to which Kehila has made allocations will be posted on the Kehila web site.