The Where Do You Give? National Design Competition pays homage to the tzedakah box of old and honors the enduring values it represents as it challenges artists, designers and thinkers to create an updated vehicle for tzedakah in the 21st century that inspires a national conversation among all of us who seek to engage more deeply with our communities—be they geographic, ethnic, national or other—about where we give, to whom and why.
For decades, most Jewish homes had a small tin box —an iconic receptacle for dimes and nickels— as a testament to the biblical imperative to care for the downtrodden. It was periodically emptied to support the local synagogue, soup kitchen, or the State of Israel. Now we want to bring the tzedakah box into active dialogue with contemporary thinking about philanthropy, social change and who we're obligated to in our increasingly interconnected, global and technologically accelerated world.
The Where Do You Give? National Design Competition, held from January to May, 2012, challenged artists and designers, Jewish and non-Jewish to design a new vehicle for giving that would inspire us to think differently about where we give, to whom and why.
Entrants submitted to one of three categories:
The Tzedakah Box
The tzedakah box is an iconic ritual object. How can the tzedakah box be brought into active dialogue with contemporary thinking about philanthropy and social change?
As our giving shifts from coins to credit card transactions and from dollar bills to digital donation buttons, how can we harness technology to reflect and influence the way we give?
Out of the Box
Think outside of the box. What statement do you want to make—using sculpture, a conceptual installation or another medium—about tzedakah in the 21st century?
All designs were judged on these criteria:
- Does it provoke critical thought about the obligation to give, where to give, to whom and why?
- Does it bring new relevance to the concept of tzedakah and the idea of the tzedakah box?
- Its potential to motivate people to expand their financial giving to include the developing world.
- Its creativity and aesthetic appeal.