Lucy Aharish .
(photo credit: screenshot)
The Genesis Prize Foundation and the Kahn Foundation on Tuesday announced the winners of the Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality grant initiative, committing to give grants to some 37 nonprofit organizations.
The grantees, who were announced at a formal ceremony at the Yitzhak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv and will receive $1 million in Genesis Prize grants, are focused on socioeconomic opportunity, gender equality, minority rights or violence prevention for women. They represent the spectrum of Jewish, Arab, Druze and Bedouin communities.
“I am so pleased and proud of the contributions that will be made to organizations that are… bringing together different communities – Arab Israelis, Jews, Bedouins – all Israeli women,” said Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree and US Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg via video at Tuesday’s event. “I think women can contribute a great deal to achieving, some day, a lasting peace.”
Ginsburg sat on the committee that reviewed the more than 220 applications received from NGOs for the Genesis Prize grants, which are funded by the $1 million annual Genesis Prize award, doubled to $2 million in 2018 by Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn.
“You have been my inspiration,” said Stan Polovets, co-founder and CEO of the Genesis Prize, who explained that the Kahn Foundation’s investment in the Genesis Prize is only one of the foundation’s dozens of philanthropic investments, which include support of space tech nonprofit SpaceIL, horseback riding therapy for children with disabilities, cardiac surgery for poor Ethiopians, and partnering with Genesis to help bring Syrian children from conflict areas to Israel for treatment at the Ziv Medical Center in Safed.
Kahn told attendees that he is “really encouraged” by the organizations which applied for the prize.
“Nothing can stand in your way,” Kahn told the group of women leaders. “It is only a question of time.”
Applications for Genesis Prize Foundation grants were accepted in the areas of socioeconomic participation and opportunity for women; gender equality, particularly in the areas of marriage and divorce; the rights and status of women from minority groups; and women’s empowerment, specifically to resist violence. Of the grants, some 30% will serve Jewish women, 30% Arab, Bedouin and Druze women, and another 10% are specific to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
“This is a systemic, across-the-board effort to support the women’s movement in Israel over the next two years,” explained Sana Britavsky, deputy CEO of the Genesis Prize Foundation, at the event.
Among the grantees is Tel Aviv-based Achoti, which runs economic empowerment activities for women who face economic hardship and live in the geographical and social periphery. Similarly, Ajeec Nisped provides tools to Arab high school graduates to succeed in universities and the workforce. The Association for the Improvement of Women’s Status Lakia runs a program that combines lectures and course work to promote empowerment and employment of Bedouin women.
Other grantees include Israel Gay Youth, which will execute a project directed at the LGBT community. Kemach (also known as Movilot) promotes excellence and employment leadership among ultra-Orthodox women and strives to realize the potential of ultra-Orthodox women as a force for advancement within the Israeli economy, while at the same time preserving their identity.
The Center for Women’s Justice uses creative public education tools and social media to reframe the discourse around state-prescribed Jewish marriage and promotes solutions to “marital captivity.” Bizchut identifies the barriers preventing women with disabilities from having equal opportunities.
And Jasmine trains women from diverse backgrounds to serve as board members on corporate, public and NGO boards.
A matching grants initiative is under way in North America, as well, with grantees to be announced in winter 2019. Together, the two programs are expected to provide $3 million in additional funding to this field between 2018 and 2020.
The event was emceed by Arab-Israeli news presenter, reporter and Channel 2 host Lucy Aharish, who praised attendees for being the kind of women who will “get up and make a difference.” The event included a panel discussion with Aharish and Hamutal Guri, executive director of the Dafna Fund; Prof. Aliza Shenhar, provost of the Max Stern Yezreel Valley College; Amanda Weiss, founding curator of Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum; and Daphna Hacker, associate professor at the Tel Aviv University’s Buchmann Faculty of Law and TAU’s women and gender studies program.
In her remarks, Shenhar pointed out that the Book of Ruth tells the story of women who supported each other for success.
“Only when women work together can they thrive,” she said.
This article was written in cooperation with the Genesis Prize Foundation.
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