JFN & Genesis Prize Foundation announce Women's Empowerment Challenge

Women's Empowerment

Up to $2 million in new funding to be channeled to Jewish organizations in the United States and Canada committed to promoting gender equality

June 27, 2018, New York – Today The Genesis Prize Foundation (GPF) announced the launch of The Genesis Prize Women’s Empowerment Challenge, a matching grants initiative dedicated to promoting gender equality in the North American Jewish community.

The Genesis Prize comes with a $1 million award, doubled to $2 million in 2018 by Israeli philanthropist and GPF partner Morris Kahn.  The matching grants competition is conducted in partnership with Mr. Kahn and will be administered by Jewish Funders Network (JFN).  Proposals will be accepted during the course of the summer and fall, and grantees announced in the winter of 2018-2019. 

“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.

The North American matching grants program is expected to generate $1.5-2 million in new funding for Jewish organizations, depending on the amount of matching funds attracted by applicants. In May, GPF announced a competition to distribute $1 million in grants to women’s organizations in Israel. A record number of more than 200 applications from Israeli NGOs have been received and grantees are set to be announced in September 2018.  

“This is the first matching grants initiative to focus on women’s advancement in the North American Jewish community since gender inequality and harassment issues came to the forefront of public attention,” said GPF President Steve Rakitt. “We call on other donors and foundations to join us in this important effort.”

The Genesis Prize matching grants initiative will seek to fund initiatives in the following four areas:

  1. Prevention of gender-based discrimination, harassment and assault in Jewish community workplaces and communal spaces.
  2. Development of gender sensitivity and inclusivity educational and training programs in Jewish communal organizations.
  3. Encouraging and supporting opportunities for Jewish girls and women to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and careers.
  4. Conducting research on salaries for men and women working in the Jewish community.

Steve Rakitt noted that to date, no organization has conducted a comprehensive compensation study to assess and compare remuneration of men and women serving in Jewish communal roles.A thorough compensation benchmarking analysis could lead to systemic change by prompting in-depth internal reviews and subsequent changes by many of the 9,500 Jewish organizations in the United States, employing more than 75,000 people, 70% of whom are women,” said Rakitt.

GPF invites Jewish nonprofit organizations seeking to promote gender equality in the United States and Canada to submit proposals before November 16. Organizations interested in applying for funding, please follow this link: http://genesis-prize-womens-empowerment-match.org/.

Barbara Dobkin, prominent Jewish feminist and philanthropist, commented: For many years, we have been talking about the discrepancy between the need to actively pursue greater equality for women across the Jewish community, and the lack of resources available to create change. The competition announced today by The Genesis Prize Foundation has the potential not only to infuse significant resources, but also to lay the groundwork for continued investment and systemic change in this important area.”

“Abusive and discriminatory behavior is learned, not intuitive. By educating and training young girls and boys, and young Jewish adults, behavior can be shaped to encourage healthy and respectful interactions,” commented Jill Smith, member of the Genesis Prize Committee and former Chair of Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women.


The Genesis Prize is a global award created to celebrate Jewish achievement and contribution to humanity. Launched in 2013, the Prize is financed through a permanent endowment of $100 million established by The Genesis Prize Foundation. All previous laureates have selected causes about which they are passionate. Award funds in their honor have been donated to these causes, which included support of social entrepreneurship based on Jewish values, inclusiveness of intermarried families in Jewish life, improving the lives of individuals with special needs, and helping to alleviate the global refugee crisis.

Jewish Funders Network grows the size and impact of Jewish philanthropy. We connect funders together, empower individual excellence, and catalyze collective action. We work for a vibrant, meaningful, inclusive, interconnected, creative, and compassionate world. JFN facilitates connections among like-minded partners, mobilizes the power of the collective, and provides a forum to discuss the big questions facing the Jewish community and the larger world. JFN creates tools, identifies best practices, and provides a broad range of philanthropic services to its members and the next generation of funders.


The Genesis Prize Foundation

Ali Rose: [email protected]; 267-738-0677

Jewish Funders Network

Melissa Rosen: [email protected]; 212-726-0177