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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

BBYO

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Youth Development

Mission: BBYO is the leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement in North America aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. For more than 80 years, AZA and BBG (boys and girls chapters respectively) in communities around the world have been providing exceptional leadership programs and Jewish identity enrichment, shaping the lives of 250,000 alumni who are among the most prominent figures in business, politics, academia, the arts and Jewish communal life. Now, more than ever, BBYO offers innovative opportunities for teens to connect with one another, serve their communities, navigate the college admissions process and travel the world, providing each participant with a network of lifelong friends, a perspective which adds value and meaning to life and a shared commitment toward strengthening the Jewish future. 

Programs: Inspired by our past and motivated by the needs of the future, BBYO is committed to reaching Jewish teens in unprecedented numbers. This commitment comes at a critical point, as the Jewish community is struggling to connect young people to their heritage and history. Fewer and fewer Jewish teens are engaging in Jewish life following their b'nai mitzvot, and one study shows that by the time Jewish teens reach their senior year of high school, less than 30% are involved in any formal or informal Jewish experiences. As a teen-led, pluralistic organization, BBYO is uniquely positioned to reverse this trend and to ensure a more secure Jewish future by using new approaches and emerging technologies to capture the Jewish teen market in ways that were once unimaginable. Key to the organization's success has been a highly effective leadership model operating on the local, national and international levels through a fraternity/sorority-based chapter structure. Formerly affiliated with B'nai B'rith, in 2002, BBYO was restructured as an independent international organization. While still capitalizing upon its leadership development programs, this move to independence affords BBYO the opportunity to forge a new direction and adopt a much more expansive and transformational approach to engaging Jewish teens. BBYO now offers a broad array of social, political, spiritual and cultural opportunities. Jewish teens are encouraged to create and lead their own communities through local chapters and BBYO's unique online network - www.b-linked.org. Once connected, they have access to a variety of resources to help them through the college admissions process, take part in community service projects, travel to Israel and around the world and communicate with their peers.

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

karenflam

Donor

Rating: 4

BBYO is an important social forum for Jewish Youth of any denomination.

Previous Stories
1

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

BBYO and Central Region East BBG was a very important part of my Jr. High & High School experience. Growing up in a mostly Christian part of PA, this was a low stress, fun way to meet other Jewish teens, make friends and have tons of fun. I also attended ILTC which was a great experience.

8

Board Member

Rating: 1

i was a member in PCR region. On board. Now i joined to make new friends, and i did. i was enjoying up until i went to an Official event. i thought bbyo wasnt supposed to be about drugs. but there was kids smoking weed, drinking, and other stuff. its not ok. I recently quit. i experienced this in 6 different chapters around the PCR region. Some of the Older kids (senior, junior, sophmores) where getting freshmen and 8th graders into drugs. thats not okay with me. And also, there is a lot of racial discrimination. They would use the "n" word a lot! and other terrible and rude words. i do not recomend signing your child in BBYO. its not a good organization

9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was a member of the Big Apple Region from 2002 through 2006. In that time, I gained the most comprehensive leadership experience I could possibly have gotten. In addition to be selected to the Young Leadership Institute as a freshman, I was my chapter's Shomerit Habrit (Sunshine Girl), N'siah and Regional Mazkirah. Perhaps the experience that I reflect most upon in the years since I was involved in BBYO was my participation as a delegate to the 2006 March of the Living. I am confident that I would never have had the experience of going to Poland and seeing the horrors and destruction of the Holocaust and then immediately after being able to go to Israel, to see the Jewish homeland and how the Jewish people have risen from the ashes to remain a united people.

13

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was in BBYO in the early 90's and had a truly transformation Jewish experience that has shaped my life. Not only did I marry someone I met through BBYO, but I had my first Israel Experience through ISI. My experience in BBYO led me to focus on a career in Jewish Communal Service in my 20's. BBYO is a wonderful Jewish experience and I hope my child will have the same opportunity that my husband and I did in shaping our Jewish identity.

8

Board Member

Rating: 5

BBYO has provided me and teens across the world with a true Jewish experience. From meeting Jewish teens like myself to learning how to become a Jewish leader in my community, I cannot begin to fathom all the ways that BBYO has affected my everyday life. From BBYO, I have embraced my Jewish Heritage and have learned what it truly means to be a leader.

9

Former staff

Rating: 4

I was a member of BBYO and subsequently a staff member. Membership in BBYO fundamentally changed my life, affording me an opportunity to learn interperonal and leadership skills, to be exposed to young Jews accross our nation, to put our traditions to work performing service for others in need, and many other ways too numerous to mention.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great for both of my children. Happy we found it! My daughter grew as a great leader, coordinator and speaker within the organization Regards, Ella R.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son started BBYO in 2008 at the beginning of his 9th grade year. He experienced a tough year starting high school....the pressure, the AP classes, a new school, girlfriend issues, you name it...he went through it! BBYO was the touchstone that brought him through this very difficult year. He is now fully active and is an officer of his chapter (Hurricane's in Miami) and is striving to take a position as a regional officer and attending IC 2010 as well. He is fully invested in BBYO, as my husband was many years ago. It has played a large part of getting him through some very trying times and we, as parents, feel so thankful for this program.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was an amazing experience in high school that shaped myself as a leader, friend, and person. I learned how to stand infront of a crowd and give a speech, how to manage a room filled with thirty high schools girls, and I learned how great of a leader I can be. BBYO deserves this award, and I am grateful for my experience.

1

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

BBYO brought me to the friends I still have now, 27 years later. I remain best friends with my first AZA friend even today. Now, I see not only my kid and my friend's kids, but I see the children born of "my kids" when I was an advisor, as they too have now grown up. And many stay in touch with each other, not to mention me. From my awkward teen years, to Israel for the first time, to being an advisor, I would need dozens of pages to recite the best years of my life.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

Emigration from one diaspora community to another is not easy. Acclamating to new cultural conditions and somewhat varied home,school, and religious life was not easy. BBYO and my fellow AZA's were there for me when I had no friends, they were my brothers when I had none. I owe a lot to the cause of BBYO, its great and I truly hope it continues to flourish into the future. Viva la Chartreuse Ostrich!

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

While growing up in Atlanta in the 70s, BBYO was my social outlet. We all spent every Sunday at the JCC with our BBYO friends hanging out. Everyone went to different schools but came together through BBYO. Many of the friendships I made then are still important to me today.

8

Board Member

Rating: 5

BBYO gave me the chance to gain leadership experience which has helped me in college. The friends i met will be sisters for life and i know that the girls will always be there for me.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was new to Las Vegas and knew no one, I joined BBYO as soon as I moved and met friends that I am still in touch with until today, (23 years later). Meeting girls and boys that had the same values and of course religion as me helped set the course for my Jewish future as a leader in the jewish community, as a mother and a wife. In three months I will have the opportunity to introduce my son to BBYO and all the great memories that I have he will have the opportunity to receive.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

BBYO changed my life. Not only did it give me somewhere to belong, it introduced me to my best friends and gave me the confidence to follow my dreams. The leadership opportunities were tremendous, and I can't imagine my high school years without it.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

As national director of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, I have seen BBYO transform itself over the past seven years into an organization that truly “gets” teens. With its finger constantly on the pulse of teen trends, BBYO presents an excellent opportunity for engaging young Jewish leaders and providing deep, meaningful experiences that create a permanent connection to the Jewish community. The proof of BBYO’s success is both anecdotal—just read the reviews submitted here by BBYO alumni—and very quantifiable: nearly 28,000 teens currently participate in BBYO programs, an 82% increase over the number of teens involved when BBYO assumed new leadership just five years ago and more than double the number of teens involved when BBYO became independent of B’nai B’rith International in 2002. An independent study showed that BBYO alumni have a stronger Jewish connection than those in the general Jewish population based on several measures, including how they regard being Jewish and their emotional attachment to Israel. Furthermore, with exemplary professionals manning the helm through tight operational controls and data management, BBYO has developed a time-tested strategic and forward-thinking approach to its work. Teens are given high-level opportunities to drive the organization and develop valuable leadership skills—including public speaking, program planning, community organizing and managing people—that prepare them to make positive contributions to the world around them as adults. Through its Professional Development Institute (PDI), BBYO is providing several cohorts of professionals with free MBA degrees and certificates in Jewish education to support and grow their work in the Jewish community. For our foundation, it imperative that the organizations we support are working to engage as many young Jews as possible in vibrant Jewish communities that are welcoming, diverse and inclusive; supportive of Israel; and dedicated to service. BBYO has created an efficient, effective network that delivers this pivotal experience for the teen cohort. Our chair, Lynn Schusterman, summed it up best when she said, “BBYO is one of my most meaningful philanthropic endeavors because it represents our greatest hope that today’s teens will grow up to raise Jewish families, be leaders in the Jewish community and live, full Jewish lives.”

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

BBYO is absolutely fantastic. The opportunities and friendships that it offers are completely undescribable. It's not just a non profit organization, it's a family of people who all have something in common. The people are all welcoming and happy to see everyone and it's such a warm and positive place.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It's pretty hard to to describe a bbyo experience in just a paragraph. Well to start, BBYO has truly changed my life. It has helped me to develop leadership skills I wouldnt have if i wasnt involved in bbyo. It has led me to meet so many amazing people, many my best friends. I have been able to make a difference in peoples lives and in the world. It has truly made me a better person. I have further discovered my jewish identity. BBYO has given me a place where i can be myself, where i can connect with other jews, where i can feel empowered.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a senior in high school and I have been in BBYO almost 5 years now. I love it more than anything and I could never have met all of the people, attended any of the programs or experienced the Judaism that I have gained if it were not for BBYO. It has changed my life through its great deeds.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization changed my life in so many ways. It made me who I am and I credit so many of my successes to what I learned and experienced in BBYO.