AJWS Launches Design Competition to Revitalize Philanthropy

Where Do You Give? Invites Artists to Reimagine Tzedakah Box for 21st Century

New York, NY; December 12, 2011—American Jewish World Service (AJWS), an international development and human rights organization, has launched a national design competition focused on philanthropy and social change. Where Do You Give? challenges artists to create a 21st century icon inspired by the values and imagery of the traditional Jewish tzedakah, or charity, box. The organization is encouraging designers to consider the tzedakah box in the context of an increasingly interconnected, global and technologically accelerated world.

Where Do You Give? aims to spark vibrant conversations about where, why and to whom American Jews donate money,” said AJWS vice president for programs, Aaron Dorfman. “As an international human rights organization, AJWS is charting new territory by launching a design competition. We’re looking forward to working closely with artists, design professionals and philanthropists on what it means to give in the U.S. and around the world.”

For decades, most Jewish homes had a small tin box for collecting coins that served as a vehicle for fulfilling the biblical imperative to care for the downtrodden. This receptacle was periodically emptied to support the local school, synagogue or soup kitchen.

“Today, tzedakah, traditionally equated with ‘charity,’ but more accurately defined as ‘justice,’ is unbounded by geographic—or even religious—parameters,” said Dorfman. “People support organizations working in the developing world and groups in their own communities, and the technology of giving has transcended doling out coins.”

The Where Do You Give? design competition pays homage to the tzedakah box of old and honors the enduring values it represents as it invites artists to construct an updated vehicle for giving. Submissions can range from variations on the traditional tzedakah box to interactive, web-based applications to conceptual installations. Nine finalists will receive a $250 prize and will be featured in a national mobile tour hosted in galleries, synagogues and various communal spaces. The grand prize winner will receive $2,500 and a trip to visit AJWS’s grassroots partners in the Americas, Africa or Asia.

The following esteemed leaders from the arts, design and Jewish communities will serve on the Where Do You Give? judging panel:
Allan Chochinov, Core77
Ryan Clifford, Maryland Institute of Contemporary Art
Amelia Klein, Reboot
Ruth Messinger, AJWS
Max Schorr, GOOD
James Snyder, Israel Museum
Mike Weikert, Maryland Institute of Contemporary Art

Submissions will be accepted from January 10, 2012 to March 1, 2012. To learn more about the competition, visit: www.wheredoyougive.org.

For More Information

If you are a member of the press and wish to obtain information about our work or speak to a member of our global team on deadline, please contact Tanyanika Davis, Director of Media Relations, at tdavis@ajws.org.