Ilia Salita, President and CEO of the Genesis Philanthropy Group, who led the organization’s efforts to engage and inspire young Jews around the world, and who touched the lives of countless people across three continents, passed away yesterday in New Jersey. The cause of death was cancer.
A graduate of Moscow State University, Salita began his career in academia before moving into philanthropy, ultimately serving as president and CEO of Genesis Philanthropy Group, where he led a significant and highly regarded expansion of the foundation’s work in North America, Israel and the former Soviet Union, while launching GPG’s efforts in Germany and the United Kingdom. In 2019, he spearheaded the development and launch of the Our Common Destiny Initiative, a partnership of the Genesis Philanthropy Group and the State of Israel, under the auspices of the President of Israel, aimed at strengthening global Jewry by linking Jewish communities worldwide to a shared set of values.
Salita, who emigrated from the former Soviet Union to the United States in 1991, was a strong believer in the key role that Russian Jews have played throughout Jewish history, and through his work at the Genesis Philanthropy Group, helped to ensure their further contribution to the continuity of the Jewish people, striving to inspire the next generation of leaders to maintain a connection to their Jewish heritage.
He is survived by his wife, Irina, his two sons, Joshua and Robert and his father, Mikhail. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Jewish Studies Department at Moscow State University (MSU). An alumnus of MSU, Salita took great pride in the fact that his alma mater in Moscow now has a Jewish Studies Department. Checks should be made payable to Jewish Funders Network, with a memo indicating “Ilia Salita Memorial Fund.” The mailing address is:
Jewish Funders Network
150 W. 30th Street, Suite 900
NY, NY 10001.
May his memory be for a blessing and may his family and loved ones be comforted among the mourners of Jerusalem and Zion.