Genesis Prize Foundation and Jewish Funders Network Launch Matching Grants Initiative in Honor of Michael Douglas


Funds Will Support Innovative Ideas for Engaging Intermarried Families in Jewish Life

NEW YORK (August 31, 2015) -- The Genesis Prize Foundation (GPF) and the Jewish Funders Network (JFN) today launched a new matching grant initiative, Avenues to Jewish Engagement for Intermarried Couples and their Families, in honor of 2015 Genesis Prize Laureate Michael Douglas, which will generate $3.3 million in funds once the matched gifts are approved.

The goal of the initiative is 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 is to enhance opportunities for Jewish involvement available to intermarried Jews, their life partners and their children.

The Genesis Prize is a $1 million annual award, honoring individuals who have attained excellence and international renown in their chosen professions, and who inspire others through their engagement and dedication to the Jewish community and/or the State of Israel.

On June 18 in Jerusalem, Michael Douglas received this prestigious award for his unforgettable body of work as an actor and producer; his passionate advocacy as a UN Messenger of Peace, focusing on human rights, gun violence prevention, and nuclear anti-proliferation work; and for his passion for his Jewish heritage. Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the 2014 Genesis Prize Laureate.

In lieu of accepting the prize money, Mr. Douglas has redirected the funds to promote inclusion and diversity in Jewish life, which included a $200,000 gift to the Jewish student organization, Hillel. Mr. Douglas’ prize award, combined with gifts from additional donors, has created a fund of $1.65 million, which will generate $3.3 million when matched. JFN will implement this Matching Grant Initiative worldwide, with the objective to broaden the reach of such programs by increasing the number of funders who support the field.

“Michael Douglas is an example of an individual dedicated to his heritage, who wants to work to ensure others have the opportunity to connect to Jewish life. The Genesis Prize is proud that its 2015 Laureate is committed to working to strengthen the Jewish people,” said Stan Polovets, Co-founder and Chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation.

"As someone who is not always welcomed in the Jewish community because my mother was not Jewish, I want to make sure that all those who desire to connect with Jewish culture and heritage have that opportunity," commented Michael Douglas. "This fund will allow many organizations to continue, or to initiate, important work to engage intermarried couples and their children."

Qualifying grants of $25,000 to $150,000 will be matched “dollar for dollar,” and the total maximum match will be $150,000. An organization whose primary mission is to support avenues to Jewish identity for intermarried families, their children and individuals from these families as defined by this initiative may receive grants for general operating support. Organizations with a broader mission may receive project support. Priority will be given to organizations that seek to create lasting, systemic change.

“The Pew report and other studies show that intermarriage is already an inescapable reality in the Jewish community,” said JFN’s President and CEO, Andrés Spokoiny. “While there are different opinions about this phenomenon, most agree that it is critical to offer these families avenues to Jewish engagement so as not to lose an entire generation. At JFN, we believe that funders can have a systemic impact when they work together and leverage their funding. This matching grant is a perfect example of donors partnering up to energize an entire field.”

All information about the matching grants fund, to include eligibility criteria, the submission process, and the application itself, is available on the matching grant website,


About The Genesis Prize Foundation

The Genesis Prize seeks to recognize individuals who have attained excellence and international renown in their chosen professional fields, and who inspire others through their engagement and dedication to the Jewish community and/or the State of Israel. The Prize, in the amount of $1 million—endowed by the Genesis Prize Foundation and awarded annually by the Prime Minister of Israel to a single individual— was established by a unique partnership among the Office of the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Genesis Prize Foundation, and the Office of the Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

About The Jewish Funders Network (JFN)

JFN is an international organization dedicated to maximizing the quality and impact of Jewish philanthropy. Our members include independent philanthropists, foundation trustees and foundation professionals. JFN leverages the power and the creativity of networks to produce change in the world. The Matching Grants Initiatives of JFN are part of an innovative strategy to increase the base contributions of donors for a given field of Jewish philanthropy. Since their inception in 2004, matching grants have generated nearly $80 million in new funding for Jewish causes. For more information please go to

Genesis Prize Foundation