Genesis Prize launches grants challenge to promote gender equality


(JTA) — The Genesis Prize Foundation has launched a matching grants competition aimed at promoting gender equality in the North American Jewish community.

The foundation announced the Genesis Prize Women’s Empowerment Challenge on Wednesday morning.

The funding will come from the $1 million Genesis Prize for 2018 awarded to the American-Israeli actress Natalie Portman.

When the prize was announced in December, Portman said the money would go toward advancing women’s equality in the United States and Israel. In April, the actress announced that she would not travel to Israel for the award ceremony, which was then canceled. Portman said did not want to be seen as endorsing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was a scheduled speaker at the ceremony.

The Genesis Foundation later decided that the prize money and an additional $1 million matching grant by Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn would still be distributed to women’s empowerment programs, but through the foundation.

“The Genesis Prize competition has already generated a great deal of interest in Israel, and we are excited to be expanding our close philanthropic partnership to advocate for the empowerment of women in Jewish communities in the United States and Canada,” said Dafna Jackson, CEO of the Kahn Foundation.

In May, the Genesis Prize Foundation announced a competition to distribute $1 million in grants to women’s organizations in Israel. More than 200 applications from Israeli NGOs were received and the grantees are set to be announced in September, according to the foundation.

The Genesis Prize 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 to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and career; and conducting research on salaries for men and women working in the Jewish community.

The grant competition will be administered by the Jewish Funders Network.

Jewish nonprofit organizations seeking to promote gender equality in the United States and Canada can submit proposals here before Nov. 16.

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