“If you want to make an impact as a social entrepreneur, go narrow and go deep,” said Jay Ruderman.
Jay and his wife, Shira, who together head the Ruderman Family Foundation, were presented with the Jerusalem Post Lifetime Achievement Award at the paper’s annual conference in New York on Monday.
Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz presented the award to the Rudermans for their championing of the inclusion of people with disabilities into society; for strengthening relations between Israel and the American Jewish community; and in recognition of more than two decades of leadership, innovation and advocacy in civil society.
Jay and Shira, president and executive director of the Ruderman Family Foundation, respectively, have dedicated their philanthropic and professional resources to creating an equal and fair society for all. Together they have led many groundbreaking initiatives that have affected the professional fields of inclusion, Israel-American Jewish relations, the Israeli government, civil society and the philanthropy community.
The two have also been at the forefront of a movement to enhance inclusivity and authenticity within Hollywood. Over the past three years, they have seen major studios such as CBS Entertainment, NBC Universal, Paramount and Sony Pictures Entertainment adopt the foundation’s guidelines, committing to audition actors with disabilities for studio productions.
As one of the newest members of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures’ board of trustees, Shira is well-positioned to continue the organization’s groundbreaking work in advocating for authentic representation in the entertainment industry.
What advice could help social entrepreneurship?
After presenting the couple with the award, Katz asked what advice they would give to those who are interested in pursuing social entrepreneurship.
“Whatever your passion, focus on that issue and be specific about what you are going after,” said Jay. “It’s not just about money. Be focused, keep your eyes on the prize, follow your passion and don’t give up.”
Shira observed, “Philanthropy today is one of the most amazing things people can be a part of. We need to understand how to build better and more efficient systems together. We need to find ways to bring funders to cooperate and work together.”