JERUSALEM – The Genesis Prize Foundation announced today that the inaugural Genesis Prize Laureate, Mr. Michael R. Bloomberg, has chosen to invest the $1 Million award to create a global competition, named the Genesis Generation Challenge. The new competition will strive to find – and fund – the next big idea that would measurably better the world. The Genesis Generation Challenge is designed to encourage teams of change agents from across the world to submit ideas for projects, guided by Jewish values, that demonstrate innovation and creativity in addressing the world's pressing issues. Up to 10 winning teams each will be awarded at least $100,000 to implement their initiatives. The competition will officially begin on August 1, 2014 through an online submission process found at www.Genesis-Generation.org. Winners will be announced in the first quarter of 2015.
"To me, nothing is more central to Jewish values than wanting to make the world a better place," said Bloomberg. "Young people in every corner of the earth have great ideas of how to change the world but lack the resources they need to try. The Genesis Generation Challenge will help find and fund them."
Project concepts can focus on any subject, such as environmental sustainability, urban design, clean technology, sustainable cities, public health, health and wellness, global education, cross-cultural exchanges, and poverty alleviation. Submissions can be intended as nonprofit or for-profit ventures, and may represent new or early stage ideas. Teams will be matched with a mentor in their field to help ensure project success and will be convened to share ideas and learn from each other.
"The Genesis Prize is a symbol of a movement to spark a far-reaching conversation about the universal impact of Jewish values, culture and heritage, especially among young people," said Stan Polovets, Chairman of the Board of the Genesis Prize Foundation. "Our first laureate, Michael R. Bloomberg's, inspired idea - to establish a competitive means of promoting positive change - comes at a crucial point in today's society."
The announcement came in advance of Bloomberg's formal acceptance of the inaugural Genesis Prize, a $1 million award that will annually recognize an honoree who has attained excellence and international renown in his or her field, and whose actions and chievements embody the character of the Jewish people through commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish community and/or the State of Israel. Bloomberg will receive the prize at a ceremony Thursday, May 22, at the Jerusalem Theatre in Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present Bloomberg with the award this evening at a ceremony at which international dignitaries, Nobel laureates and business leaders from around the globe are expected to come together to honor him. Iconic comedian Jay Leno will serve as emcee, and Grammy award-winning pianist Evgeny Kissin, a new Israeli citizen as of late last year, will be the featured musical performer.
The Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky, added: "I hope that the Genesis Prize will be an inspiration to young Jews around the world for many years to come and that it will introduce leaders like Michael R. Bloomberg, who have achieved henomenal heights in various fields as proud Jews connected to their Jewish heritage and the Jewish People."
Bloomberg was named the inaugural Genesis Prize laureate for his exceptional achievements in public service, philanthropy and entrepreneurship, and his commitment to bettering the world around him. The Prize is administered by a partnership of the Office of the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Genesis Philanthropy Group, and the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Genesis Philanthropy Group has established an endowment in the amount of $100 million to launch the Genesis Prize Foundation, as well as fund the prize and related endeavors that promote young adultengagement.
Interested competition participants will be invited to meet other potential entrants through online forums on the Genesis Generation website to help collaborate on submission ideas and form teams. Each team will be led by a designated team leader aged 20-36.
Additional team members must be 18 or older to participate. Members of the same team can come from multiple countries. Teams will be required to submit an application that includes a project plan and budget, details intended beneficiaries, and describes the ecessary resources to carry out the project.
Entries will be judged by a panel of approximately 25 experts including global business leaders, philanthropists and social entrepreneurs. The list of experts will be publicly announced.
Additional Events in Israel
The May 22 ceremony is one of several events in Israel this week to celebrate the inaugural Genesis Prize. Earlier today, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat hosted Mr. Bloomberg at the joint event "Innovation, Creativity and Community" at the historical Hansen House, here both leaders met young innovators from Jerusalem and discussed their experience as entrepreneurs, mayors, and their vision as Jewish leaders.
On Friday, May 23, Bloomberg will address 300 Jewish 18-30 year-old young adults from around the world who are exploring opportunities in Israel this year through gap year, study abroad, post-college and volunteer programs organized by Masa Israel Journey.