A big mazel tov to The United Jewish Congregation of Hong Kong, who recently learned that it has received a grant from Avenues to Jewish Engagement for Intermarried Couples and their Families, in honour of 2015 Genesis Prize Laureate Michael Douglas.
The United Jewish Congregation of Hong Kong will be among 28 projects from seven countries which will receive grants from Avenues to Jewish Engagement for Intermarried Couples and their Families, in honor of 2015 Genesis Prize Laureate Michael Douglas. JFN announced the recipients on May 22 at the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York, and was joined by Michael Douglas and the Genesis Prize Foundation. The projects will result in $3.3 million in new funds being dedicated to this philanthropic area. Douglas lauded the innovation and potential impact of the funded projects, saying that they will make Jewish life more welcoming and accessible to intermarried families like his own.
The United Jewish Congregation of Hong Kong (The UJC), with generous donations from Deborah & Michel Lowy, Josephine & Eric Mogelof, Jean Eric Salata, Isabelle Demenge & Yuval Tal, Padideh & Alex Trojanow, and a family who wished to remain anonymous, and matching funds from the Avenues to Jewish Engagement for Intermarried Couples and their Families grant, is committed to welcoming all individuals and families pursuing a Progressive vision of Judaism. With these funds, The UJC will continue to bring the best of Progressive Jewish life to its congregants and will invest in youth programming, adult education offerings, and the attraction and engagement of committed members. Established in 1988, The UJC community was built on the ideas of inclusiveness and diversity in Jewish life. This initiative will help ensure that The UJC continues to stand for Progressive Jewish values and the engagement of all those seeking Jewish identity and Jewish life in the heart of Asia.
The Avenues to Jewish Engagement for Intermarried Couples and their Families matching grant began in 2015 when Michael Douglas, an Academy Award winning actor, peace activist, and supporter of Jewish causes and the State of Israel, won the Genesis Prize. In lieu of accepting the prize money, he redirected the funds to promote inclusion and diversity in Jewish life, which included a $200,000 gift to the Jewish student organization, Hillel International. The remainder of the award, combined with an additional $1 million gift from philanthropist Roman Abramovich, created a matching grant that was administered by the Jewish Funders Network, the global network organization for Jewish philanthropists.
The goal of Avenues to Jewish Engagement for Intermarried Couples and their Families was to mobilize the philanthropic community to increase the number of funders and grant dollars supporting organizations and projects that foster a culture of acceptance within the Jewish community. The particular focus of the grant program was to enhance opportunities for Jewish involvement available to intermarried Jews, their life partners and their children.
Over 80 applications from 14 countries were submitted as part of the initiative. The 28 winning recipients span seven countries: the United States, Israel, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Hong Kong/China.
“Today the Jewish world opened its doors a little wider,” said Andrés Spokoiny, President& CEO of JFN. “And the impact goes beyond these grants. The gifts being matched, as well as the whole range of amazing projects that were submitted, represent new donors and newly increased levels of giving that this area has never seen before. And I believe many of these philanthropists, who were inspired by Michael and this matching grant to get involved, are likely to keep working on this issue over time. “Each of the organization’s projects will run for up to two years, with JFN conducting periodic assessments of their success and impact.