The Genesis Philanthropy Group will give the Jewish Agency for Israel $6 million for educational projects in the former Soviet Union.
Genesis, which is made up of several oligarchs from the former Soviet Union, who have committed to building a better Russian speaking Jewish diaspora, will give the money over the next three to four years to help day schools, summer camps and other formal Jewish education projects, according to a spokesman for the Jewish Agency, but the rest of the details are not yet worked out.
The agreement was reached in Moscow this week, where the agency’s new chairman, Natan Sharansky, was visiting schools for the start of the school year.
As the recession has hit, funding for programs in the FSU has been cut significantly by organizations and donors across the board, and it is presumed that at least part of this money will go to help bail out the Jewish Agency’s floundering Heftsibah school system in the FSU.
The agency is touting this gift as Sharansky’s first major win since taking over the organization’s professional helm this summer.
“This is Sharansky’s baby. He has been working on this since he came on board bc he has been very perturbed with cutbacks specifically in the FSU. This is his baby,” the Agency spokesman told The Fundermentalist. “I think it is a feather in Sharansky’s cap. He has done this very quickly and efficiently.”
Here is the press release:
JEWISH AGENCY FOR ISRAEL-PRESS RELEASE
2nd September 2009
US $6 million Agreement between Jewish Agency and Genesis Philanthropy Group on Educational Activities in the Former Soviet Union signed in Moscow.
The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Genesis Philanthropy Group(GPG) have reached a general agreement on widening the scope of mutual cooperation in the field of Jewish education and in the strengthening of Jewish identity of Russian-speaking Jews in the Russian Federation and in other Former Soviet Union countries. The cooperation in question includes support of Jewish schools, summer camps, and other projects.
Within the framework of the agreement, GPG will invest up to US$6 million into its joint programs with the Jewish Agency over the course of the next 3-4 years. GPG will also help the Jewish Agency in evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of the projects operated by the Jewish Agency in the former Soviet Union.
Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive, Jewish Agency for Israel said:
"Over the last years the Jewish Agency has been active in working on the return of hundreds of thousands of Jews to their historical roots and the strengthening of Jewish identity. The Jewish Agency worked together with the Government of Israel, its many friends around the world, UJC/The Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod and in recent years, with the active participation of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ-USA). I welcome the fact that today the representatives of Russia’s Jewish community are more and more involved in building Jewish institutions in Russia and are doing their utmost to strengthen the Jewish identity of Russian-speaking Jews around the world."