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What is Tikun Olam?

Traditionally Tikun Olam, translated as “Repairing the World,” can be seen as any act of social justice or charitable giving. In USY, we define it as the concept of donating to tzedakah (charity).

USY has a Tikun Olam Fund from which we donate to various Jewish charities in the United States, Israel, and abroad. Chapters and regions plan specific events and drives in which their members actively raise money for this fund.

Tikun Olam is often shortened to the abbreviation T.O.

What organizations does the fund support?

Our Tikun Olam Fund allows that only Jewish causes be included on the approved list of Tzedakot, charities. We see this as an inherent value of USY: if we are not supporting Jewish organizations, who will? Many of these charities benefit non-Jews as well as Jews, but they are rooted in Jewish values.

If a chapter wishes to allocate funds to a local non-Jewish Tzedakah, it must write the USY International Office with an explanation of the organization for approval. The list of approved Tzedakot includes hospitals, orphanages, social service organizations, and organizations that provide for the development of individual Jewish communities. The fund also supports the growth and success of the Conservative Movement and USY’s partner organizations around the world.

Support for Programs in Israel and Scholarship Assistance

Programs that we support include USY Summer Experience and Israel gap-year programs such as Nativ. Our commitment to these programs in Israel is essential because they serve each chapter and region directly. These immersive travel and study programs help to foster many of the future teachers, rabbis, and Jewish leaders who will one day guide our individual communities. They also help to cultivate a strong bond with with Israel and enthusiasm for Jewish life in their participants.

How is the Tikun Olam Fund Structured?

USY’s Tikun Olam Fund sends 40% of its funds to charitable organizations, 30%to the Conservative Movement Programs in Israel, and 30% to USY regions to provide scholarships for teens participating in summer and gap-year programs.

Who Allocates the Money in the Tikun Olam Fund?

Each chapter and region raises money throughout the year to donate to the fund, so they have the ability to decide where their money goes. Sixty percent (60%) of the money raised is divided between Israel and regional scholarships.  The remaining 40% of their contribution will assist different charities and organizations.

The Tikun Olam Allocations Form lists the charities that have been approved by USY. Chapters and regions choose one or two organizations from this list to which they can allocate funds. As previously mentioned, if a chapter wishes to allocate funds to a local non-Jewish Tzedakah, it must write the USY International Office for approval upon submitting their Tikun Olam money for the year. Submissions can be written directly on the Tikun Olam Allocations Form. Click here to download a copy of the Tikun Olam Allocations Form.

Chapters and regions can also decide not to allocate their funds to a specific charity. Instead they can send money to the USY office without allocating. There is an annual meeting in September where a group of elected USYer officers allocates the remaining funds that chapters and regions did not. This group includes each Regional President, each Regional SA/TO Vice President, and the SA/TO International General Board.  

In order to assist the Tzedakot that we support, Tikun Olam collects its funds centrally in the USY office. This way, we will be able to provide larger contributions to the organizations we support. By doing this, we ensure that our donations are used to benefit larger projects rather than operating expenses.

In summation…

The Tikun Olam money is allocated as follows:

  • 30% – Scholarships for USY programs
  • 30% – Tzedakah Education, Israel Outreach, and additional Scholarships
  • 40% – Chapters/Regions Allocate to Tzedakot
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