Jill Weber Smith Appointed to Genesis Prize Committee

The Genesis Prize Foundation, the operating entity for the Genesis Prize, announced today that Jill Weber Smith has been named a member of its Prize Committee. Smith joins a distinguished panel of judges, including Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and Yuli Edelstein, speaker of the Israeli Knesset, which will select the first annual $1 million Genesis Prize Laureate in 2013. The Prize honors an accomplished, internationally renowned individual whose pathbreaking achievements contributed significantly to humanity, and who can inspire the younger generation of Jews worldwide.

Jill Weber Smith is a philanthropist dedicated to providing educational and other resources to those in need to help them thrive as individuals in their communities and heal the world around them. Smith serves on a number of boards, including the Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women (JFEW) (for which she is President), Hillel Russia and Moishe House, a pluralistic international organization that provides meaningful Jewish experiences to young adults in their 20s. Smith is also a board member of UJA-Federation of New York.

“Jill brings decades of personal and professional philanthropic experience to her role as a Prize Committee Member – her passion to inspire the next generation of Jews directly connects to one of the principal aims of the Prize,” said Wayne Firestone, President of the Genesis Prize Foundation.

Smith will join her fellow Prize Committee Members in recognizing the accomplishments of the Genesis Prize Laureate, placing a bright spotlight on the individual’s achievement in his/her field and symbolizing the Jewish people’s contribution to humanity. “I am proud to join the Committee that will select the inaugural Genesis Prize Laureate. The Prize represents an opportunity to honor an individual who has inspired the world through professional excellence while embracing Jewish values,” said Jill Weber Smith. “It is a significant moment in time to honor the Jewish values that transcend faith and nationality.”

Before focusing entirely on philanthropic work, Smith was a federal criminal defense attorney. In 1995, she joined the Innocence Project, a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice – an experience that inspired her to pursue a degree in law. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Smith earned a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Juris Doctorate from New York Law School.

To learn more about the Genesis Prize Foundation, please visit genesisprize.org.

An op-ed by Jill, Scholarships for Women Help to Level Playing Field, timed for Women’s Equality Day, was published by eJP earlier today.

About the Genesis Prize Foundation: The Genesis Prize Foundation was established in 2012 by the Genesis Philanthropy Group, Office of the Prime Minister of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel with the goal of strengthening the connection of Jewish people around the world to the cultural and spiritual values that unite them. Using a two-tier selection process, it will award a $1 million Prize annually to an individual who has attained excellence and international renown in their chosen professional fields, and whose actions, in addition to their achievement, embody the character of the Jewish people through commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish community and/or to the State of Israel.

About the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women: The Jewish Foundation for Education of Women (JFEW) is a New York City-based, nonsectarian organization helping women with financial need meet their educational and career goals. Founded as a school in 1880, JFEW supports over 350 women annually. To learn more about the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women, please visit jfew.org.