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Genesis Group announces $1.2 million in grants

The Genesis Philanthropy Group has announced $1.2 million in new grants in the former Soviet Union, Israel and North America.

Grant were made to a number of organizations, including Hillel in the former Soviet Union, the UJA Federation of New York, the Claims Conference’s Lo Tishkach initiative, and Chabad in Moscow. In Israel, grants went to TV Beit Midrash to enhance Jewish education for Russian speakers and Mohut, which opens dialogue between Russian speaking Israeli soldiers and those still in the FSU.

And in the U.S., grants went to the Jewish Federation of Toronto, Ezra USA and to JTA to expand coverage in the FSU.

“It’s a great honor for us to partner with such outstanding organizations as Hillel, Toronto and New York Federations, Conference of European Rabbis, and the JTA,” said Stan Polovets, CEO and one of the five founders of Genesis. “With all the challenges currently facing the world of Jewish non-profits, we feel fortunate to be in a position to support the excellent programs of these established institutions, as well as fund innovative projects developed by new entrants to the field of Jewish identity.”

Here is the press release with more details:

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Genesis Announces $1.2 Million in New Funding

Grants Include Support for Hillel and Jewish Cemetery Restoration Projects in FSU, Toronto Federation Programs Aimed at the Local Russian Jewish Community, and Educational Trips for Russian-speaking IDF officers to FSU and North America September 21, 2009 (Moscow, Russia): Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) has announced that it has approved an additional $1.2 million in grants to Jewish organizations in the former Soviet Union, Israel, and North America. The latest grants come three weeks after GPG’s award of $6 million to the Jewish Agency for Israel, which was announced during Natan Sharansky’s visit to Moscow on September 1-2.

The latest grants approved by GPG include:

In the former Soviet Union:

Hillel FSU – to strengthen the management team and organizational infrastructure, and to fund improvements in corporate governance and programmatic development of Hillel chapters in Russia, Ukraine, and other former Soviet republics.

Grassroots Initiative – in partnership with the UJA Jewish Federation of NY, support to the most innovative grassroots projects, aimed at strengthening the local Jewish communities.

Lo Tishkach – to engage and strengthen Jewish identity for students through support of educational activities related to cemetery preservation initiatives, managed by the Claims Conference and Conference of European Rabbis under the leadership of Rabbi Aba Dunner.

South-West Community Project – a planning grant to a small new Chabbad center in southeastern Moscow which is working on developing new innovative programming especially designed for nonaffiliated Russian Jewish children, including Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah preparation.

In Israel:

Mohut – program designed to facilitate dialogue between Russian speaking Israeli military officers and local Jewish communities in Russia, Ukraine and United States, aimed at strengthening of Jewish identity among all participants.

TV Beit Midrash – seminars to expand and enhance Jewish knowledge and to foster
Jewish identity among Israeli Russian speaking journalists, with a goal of increasing engagement of the Russian speaking Jewish community in Israel.

Community Development – strengthening of Jewish identity of Russian speaking immigrants across six Israeli communities.

In North America:

UJA Federation of Greater Toronto – a project aimed at strengthening integration and promoting dialogue between Russian speaking Jews and the North American Jewish community in the Toronto area.

Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) – grant to expand JTA’s coverage in the FSU aimed at providing the international Jewish community with a better understanding of developments in Jewish life in the former Soviet Union.

Ezra  USA  — in  addition  to  helping  organization’s  capacity  building  and           operational improvements,  funds will now be given to support Ezra’s Jewish travel initiative to Argentina designed to help young Russian-speaking Jews develop Jewish identity and strengthen community ties.

“It’s a great honor for us to partner with such outstanding organizations as Hillel, Toronto and New York Federations, Conference of European Rabbis, and the JTA,” said Stan Polovets, CEO and one of the five founders of Genesis. “With all the challenges currently facing the world of Jewish non-profits, we feel fortunate to be in a position to support the excellent programs of these established institutions, as well as fund innovative projects developed by new entrants to the field of Jewish identity.”

Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, a member of the GPG Grants Review Committee and a former president of the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, said: “With these grants, Genesis Philanthropy Group signals a continuing expansion of Russian Jewish philanthropic leadership toward strengthening the Jewish identity of Russian-speaking Jews worldwide. This is a challenge to world Jewry to increase its investment to reach out more effectively to Russian Jews. GPG has set a high marker because the stakes are high. If the communities respond, then this cohort will be a major reinforcement for Jews in the next generation. If the communities sleep, then the miracle of the Soviet Jewry movement – the restoration of Soviet Jewry – is wasted.”

“We are especially pleased to be able to announce these grants at the start of the Jewish New Year, traditionally a time to focus on charity, helping those in need and connecting to community,” said Mark Charendoff, President of the Jewish Funders Network (JFN) and a member of GPG’s Advisory Board. “We are gratified that even in this difficult environment Genesis continues to develop and fund new and important initiatives.”

About Genesis Philanthropy Group
Genesis Philanthropy Group was established in the summer of 2007 by Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Pyotr Aven, Alex Knaster, and Stan Polovets. The mission of the Genesis
Philanthropy Group is to develop and enhance Jewish identity among Russian speaking
Jews worldwide, with a particular emphasis on the Former Soviet Union, North America, and Israel. GPG is committed to supporting and launching projects and programming in institutions that are focused on ensuring that Jewish culture, heritage, and values are preserved in Russian speaking Jewish communities across the globe.

In the past 24 months, GPG has made over 40 grants, to organizations such as Taglit-
Birthright Israel, Moscow State University, the Israel Defense Force’s Education Department, Limmud, Maccabi, and the New York Jewish Museum. Its most significant multi-year grants include $10.8 million to Brandeis University, $6 million to the Jewish Agency for Israel, $4.4 million to the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and $4.4 million to the Yad Vashem Museum. For more information, visit www.gpg.org 

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