At the Genesis Prize Award Ceremony on June 18, 2015 in Jerusalem, Genesis Prize Laureate Michael Douglas announced that he would decline the $1M Genesis Prize Award so it could be used toward initiatives that foster inclusion of intermarried families in Jewish life. He announced an initial grant to Hillel International in order to enhance its peer engagement program, and now, hundreds of student interns have been equipped to engage their peers from intermarried families in Jewish life on campus.
The remainder of the funds, combined with a generous additional donation from philanthropist Roman Abramovich, created “Avenues to Jewish Engagement for Intermarried Couples and their Families,” a matching grants initiative administered by the Jewish Funders Network. The application period for this matching grant opportunity opened on August 31, 2015 and closed on March 15, 2016, with JFN receiving a record 80 applications from 14 countries representing over 100 unique funders. Both JFN and the Genesis Prize Foundation have told eJP, “we are thrilled to see this level of interest in innovative approaches to engaging intermarried families, and look forward to announcing the recipients of the grants later this spring.”