June 15, 2020, Jerusalem – Today the Genesis Prize Foundation (GPF) announced the recipients of grants in honor of Robert Kraft, 2019 Genesis Prize Laureate. Twenty six Israeli and international non-profit organizations will receive funding as part of Speak Out for Israel, a global campaign to promote a true narrative of Israel and counteract efforts to delegitimize the Jewish State.
Funding for the grants comes from the $1 million Genesis Prize, awarded to American philanthropist and owner of the New England Patriots football team Robert Kraft. The annual Genesis Prize, dubbed the “Jewish Nobel” by TIME Magazine, honors extraordinary individuals for their outstanding professional achievement, contribution to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values and the State of Israel.
Upon receiving the Genesis Prize, Robert Kraft committed to forgoing the monetary award and directing it towards projects combating anti-Semitism and delegitimization of Israel. During his acceptance speech in June 2019, Kraft also announced a $20 million personal donation to seed the creation of the new Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism.
Kraft and GPF were joined by Concert-Together for Israel Ltd., a funding platform supporting the pro-Israel community of non-profit organizations who are dedicated to promoting a positive perception of Israel. Concert, which made a major donation to the grant pool, is a partnership between the State of Israel and pro-Israel groups around the world. It is funded by a group of various independent philanthropists from around the world and matched by the Government of Israel.
Robert Kraft said: “When I received the Genesis Prize in Jerusalem last year I made a public commitment to double my efforts against harmful worldwide attempts to delegitimize Israel. The coronavirus crisis of 2020 dictated new priorities and refocused much of the current philanthropy on urgent aid, and I was happy to be able to do my part,” noted Kraft, who flew his Boeing-767 Patriots team plane to China to retrieve 1.2 million respirator masks, which were delivered to Boston and New York in April. “But we must also honor our commitments and stay true to our long-term aspirations. Anti-Semitism and anti-Israel discourse are not going away, and in many cases, are on the rise. I am confident that the organizations receiving Genesis Prize grants will be highly effective in this battle against hatred.”
“Speak Out for Israel is a multi-pronged campaign to inject additional intellectual, financial, and creative resources in the ongoing efforts to deliver a truthful narrative of Israel to the world at this crucial time,” said Co-founder and Chairman of The Genesis Prize Foundation Stan Polovets. “Grants announced today will support and strengthen the vast ecosystem of pro-Israel organizations that engage, educate, and influence audiences around the world. Their messages focus on democracy and tolerance as key attributes of modern Israel, as well as countless advances in science, technology, arts, and culture. There are many outstanding organizations working in this field and we are pleased to invest in further enhancing their capacity.”
As part of the Speak Out for Israel initiative, NGOs will execute advocacy and awareness campaigns to engage international audiences, including officials and diplomats, legislators, reporters, activists, students, members of the academia and the arts community. Grantee organizations will expand their work with Jews in the Diaspora, volunteers in developing countries, and engagement with communities prone to anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish bias.
Many of the grantee organizations have adapted their strategies to respond to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and the spike in anti-Semitic sentiment that accompanies it.
Projects and organizations set to receive funding include:
- ADL Israel, American Jewish Committee, ELNET, United with Israel, which will engage diplomats, policymakers, legislators and high-level influencers in conversations about multiculturalism and democracy in Israel, as well as anti-Semitism and delegitimization of the Jewish State;
- Stand with Us, a popular fellowship program training highly capable brand ambassadors for Israel;
- Jerusalem Press Club and the Honest Reporting project by Media Central, which work with foreign reporters and media outlets in Israel and beyond to promote better-informed coverage;
- Initiatives such as Heroes for Life and Innovation Africa, which recruit Israelis who volunteer to travel and work around the world, including underdeveloped communities in Africa, Central and South America to promote education, health and infrastructure in the context of Jewish values;
- Creative Community for Peace and Music Port, which work to promote understanding of Israeli culture and its links with the global creative community – as members of the entertainment industry are being targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement;
- Startup Nation Central Innovation Discovery Platform and Taglit’s Center for Israeli Innovation, which provide information to global Jewish and non-Jewish audiences highlighting the many contributions of Israel’s high tech sector.
Organizations will operate in Israel and other parts of the world, including Europe, Africa, North and South America. The full list of organizations and projects that will receive funding is available here.
Organizations were selected following a competition launched in November 2019 and administered by Matan-United Way Israel.
Rachel Fish, Executive Director of Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism, said: “The purpose of this program is to provide a boost to philanthropy and advocacy organizations in order to enhance understanding and engagement with Israel. This is the reason grants are spread among many organizations. They will extend the reach and capacity of credible and effective players that exist in this field, and train a new cadre of ambassadors and volunteers that speak on Israel’s behalf. We want to empower these organizations to do more and welcome other philanthropists to join us.”
Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance, said: “We must not let the Jewish people and the Jewish State be isolated. The stronger the voice of the Jewish people speaking the truth about modern Israel, its achievements and contribution to civilization, the more we are able to counter anti-Semitic propaganda and efforts to delegitimize Israel. I welcome and support this timely and global initiative by Robert Kraft and The Genesis Prize Foundation.”
The annual Genesis Prize honors extraordinary individuals for their outstanding professional achievement, contribution to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values. Launched in 2013, the Prize is financed through a permanent endowment of $100 million established by The Genesis Prize Foundation.
In addition to 2019 Laureate Robert Kraft, Genesis Prize laureates are former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (2014); actor, producer and peace activist Michael Douglas (2015); virtuoso violinist and advocate for individuals with special needs Itzhak Perlman (2016); sculptor and advocate for the rights of refugees Sir Anish Kapoor (2017); Oscar-winning actress and social activist Natalie Portman (2018); and legendary Jewish leader and human rights activist Natan Sharansky (2020). In 2018, the Genesis Prize Foundation honored U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to social justice and equal rights.