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Golden ​Slipper Creates a Group to Encourage the Young

December 7, 2006 By:
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The Golden Slipper Club & Charities isn't exactly known as a hot group for twenty- and thirtysomethings. The Bala Cynwyd-based philanthropic organization is largely recognized for its work with the elderly, and with needy children.

But one night last month, several dozen young local residents crowded a Center City bar to chat about Golden Slipper.

Over beers and barstools, they described the organization as "cool," "great" and "passionate."

These attendees are part of a new Golden Slipper offshoot -- one specifically aimed at attracting the under-40 set.

Young Slipper Professionals, which began last spring, is meant to bring a young cadre of committed Jews to the parent agency, which, like many others in Jewish organizational circles, craves this core demographic.

As Mike Staff, the 27-year-old co-chair of the new body, emphasized, "We need younger members in there ... to one day be leaders and run these committees and boards. It's a way to build leadership."

His co-committee chair, Pam Becker, agreed.

"The older contingency tends to donate money," said Becker, 30. "They needed people who have more energy to do more hands-on things."

For some, joining Young Slipper Professionals is not such a leap; many younger members mentioned that they have parents or grandparents involved with the larger agency.

At least that's what motivated 27-year-old Brian Gilberg.

"I saw what my parents got out of it, and I was like, 'I want that same feeling,' " he said.

Many of those interviewed cited how this newer outlet differed from other young Jewish gatherings in town.

Jason Fenkel, 25, described it as "the most hands-on social group you can actually be involved with," calling it "socialness directed towards a cause."

Staff put it another way.

"It kind of serves a different niche -- we're not simply a dating service, a networking service," he explained. "You do meet people, but you do charitable service."

He said that the group will attract members by having a come-as-much-or-as-little-as-you-like policy, and by combining social events with community-minded ones.

So far, it has run a softball league, planned a bowling night and scheduled a trip to a comedy show. A service afternoon at the Slipper camp is in the works.

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