BBYO receives historic $25 million Pledge to Support Women’s Leadership and Empowerment

BBYO International Convention 2019, Denver, Colorado. Photo credit: Michael Kandel.

Chicago industrialist/philanthropist Ted Perlman and his wife Harriette have pledged $25 million to accelerate BBYO’s initiatives for young Jewish women and teens. The gift, one of the largest single commitments to a youth-serving organization in modern history, provides immediate resources for BBYO to launch and expand new programs and provides endowment funding that will support such activities in perpetuity.

BBYO International Convention 2019, Denver, Colorado. Photo credit: Michael Kandel.

The Perlman’s gift will focus on providing unprecedented resources for BBYO to train young women through the launch of The Anita M. Perlman Women’s Leadership Initiative, which is named in honor of Perlman’s mother. This Initiative will:

  • Mobilize young women who are BBYO alumni to take on positions of leadership in BBYO as advisors, professionals, and advocates;
  • Create new leadership development opportunities so that these young women can strengthen their character, careers, and contributions to society; and
  • Otherwise strengthen BBYO’s activities related to empowering, educating, and training female leaders.

Anita M. Perlman is considered by many to be the first feminist to make changes in the Jewish institutional world. Among her innumerable contributions to Jewish causes globally, she is best known as the founder of the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG), a division of BBYO, which is one of the largest sisterhoods of teenage girls in the world. The Anita M. Perlman Women’s Leadership Initiative will inspire young women to honor the very characteristics that Mrs. Perlman epitomized throughout her extraordinary life of leadership, community involvement, and philanthropy.

In honor of the Perlman’s historic gift, the position of International N’siah – the teen leader elected by thousands of her peers internationally through BBYO’s democratic process – will be renamed The Anita M. Perlman International N’siah. The International N’siah serves a one-year term as an ambassador to Jewish teens globally during a gap year before college when she travels the world on behalf of BBYO.

The announcemnt was made last night at BBYO’s International Convention 2019 (BBYO IC 2019) in Denver, where more than 5,500 teen leaders, educators, thought and business leaders, and philanthropists joined together for one of the largest Jewish communal events of the year.

BBYO IC 2019 is also the launch point for an anniversary celebration as the Order of the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG) turns 75 this year. Celebrations throughout IC will recognize women who have made an impact in their communities and the world, and there will be multiple content sessions focused on topics such as women’s empowerment, leadership training, gender equality, and women’s rights.