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JCF Fund Profile: Meet "Tools for School!"

Each donor of the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. is unique, and so is each fund that our donors create.

We enjoy sharing the stories of our donors and how their funds came to be, to shine light on how generous, dedicated, and foresighted our Southern New Jersey community members are.

Today, let's meet "Tools for School," a teen-led organization that was founded by Lilly Checkoff and Montana Checkoff to provide school bags and supplies to young students in need throughout South Jersey. It's tikkun olam (repairing the world) at its finest.

Tools for School utilizes the JCF's services such as accepting monetary donations, managing their account, and processing checks when needed, providing the volunteers the chance to have their own "mini-nonprofit" without the added administrative legwork that maintaining a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit entails. This arrangement is known as fiscal sponsorship. By using the JCF as a fiscal sponsor, Tools for School volunteers can focus on what they do best: helping others!

Thanks to Montana for providing the following insights into Tools for School:

How and why did Tools for School get started?

Tools for School started as a simple community service project that has rapidly grown into something big. Through Tools for School, we work not only to alleviate a financial burden for underprivileged families, but also to raise awareness of this plight in our community. We show others that not every kid can afford a new backpack and pencils every year, and that there are many people in our community who are struggling financially. In today’s world, people turn a blind eye and ignore the poverty others experience. Tools for School strives to continue to enlighten people in the community and beyond, and to continue to help people in need. The more people we touch with Tools for School, the closer we as a community come to lessening the struggles of others.

How can people get involved in Tools for School?

Tools for School takes pride in our notion of “kids helping kids”. We organize what is called a teen board that meets to accomplish fundraising goals throughout the year. We work from September through June to fundraise and create awareness, which then culminates in a large event where the backpacks are filled with the school supplies. An overall goal that we have within the organization is for students to understand that not everyone has the flexibility that they do when they go shopping for supplies every year. Anyone is welcome to become a part of our team. We welcome students but also companies and corporations to sponsor our event. We also need all the volunteers we can get when we pack the bags in August. This year, the event happens August 7th at 10am at Tomatoe's in Margate City, NJ.

What are your goals for Tools for School this year and into the future?

This year, Tools for School will be packing 2,500 bags that will be distributed all over South Jersey and Easter Pennsylvania. We strive to continue our movement and help lessen the burden that others have when returning to school.

How has JCF helped Tools for School?

Tools for School has not worked with JCF for very long, but we have found such ease when accomplishing our big goals. We have overall felt much more organized and well put with JCF and we will always be appreciative of their help.

Thank you to everybody at Tools for School for giving back and helping children and families in our South Jersey community!

Interested in donating? We invite you to support this deserving cause with a donation in any amount, click here.

To learn about starting your own fund with the JCF, please contact us at 856-673-2560 or


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