Genesis Foundation Launches Gender-Equity Prize


The Genesis Prize Foundation, which since 2013 has recognized accomplished members of the Jewish community by giving what has come to be known as the Jewish Nobel Prizes, has established a new prize that promotes gender equality.

The Foundation announced today that its Women’s Empowerment Challenge, a matching grants competition, will be aimed at the North American Jewish community.

The money comes from the 2018 $1 million Genesis Prize awarded to actress Natalie Portman, who said she would not attend the awards ceremony in order not to appear together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and by an additional $1 million from Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn.

The matching grants initiative will fund programs in the areas of prevention of gender-based discrimination, harassment and assault in Jewish community workplaces and communal spaces; development of gender sensitivity and inclusivity educational and training programs in Jewish communal organizations, encouraging and supporting opportunities for Jewish girls and women in STEM education and careers, and research on salaries for men and women who work in the Jewish community.

“The Genesis Prize Foundation selected the theme of women’s empowerment last fall, before #Metoo was on the front pages,” said Steve Rakitt, president of the Foundation. “Gender equality is a critical challenge – in general and in the Jewish community – and GPF wanted to respond.  We hope that the continued media focus on issues facing women will encourage organizations and funders to develop innovative and sustainable ideas for addressing challenges for women in Jewish workplaces and communal spaces.”

Applications for the grant competition, which will be administered by the Jewish Funders Network, will be accepted through Nov. 16.

Jewish non-profit organizations seeking to promote gender equality in the United States and Canada can submit proposals before November 16. Organizations interested in applying for funding can do so at

The Genesis Prize, which is administered is administered by a partnership among the office of Israel’s Prime Minister, the executive of the Jewish Agency and the Genesis Prize Foundation, was established to inspire a sense of pride among young unaffiliated Jews around the world. Past laureates include Michael Bloomberg, Itzhak Perlman and Michael Douglas.