Jay Leno is on hand to host the awarding of the $1 million Genesis Prize to Michael Bloomberg
Former New York Mayor and known philanthropist Michael Bloomberg is in Israel to be the first laureate to receive a $1 million prize from the Genesis Prize Foundation. A multi billionaire and owner of Bloomberg news, he certainly does not need another $1 million for himself. The award is intended for philanthropic causes.
It was announced in March that Mr. Bloomberg would receive the inaugural Genesis Prize, a $1 million award that be given annually to recognize someone who has attained excellence and international renown in his or her field, and whose actions and achievements embody the character of the Jewish people through commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish community and/or the State of Israel. This according to Genesis.
Today Bloomberg declared his intention to use the money to launch a new global competition for young people that he hopes will inspire big ideas that will change the world. It will be named for the foundation, Genesis Generation Challenge, and will work to find and fund the next big idea that would make a better world. He made the declaration before his acceptance ceremony which will be held at the Jerusalem Convention Center, Binyanei Hauma.
The Challenge, according to Bloomberg, will encourage teams of agents from across the world to submit ideas for projects, guided by Jewish values, that demonstrate innovation and creativity in addressing the world’s pressing problems and needs. Up to 10 winning teams can each win an award of at least $100, 000 to implement their initiatives.
The competition will officially begin on August 1, 2014 and aspirants can register through an online submission form at www.Genesis-Generation.org . Winners will be announced in the first quarter of 2015.
About his new initiative Bloomberg said, “To me, nothing is more central to Jewish values than wanting to make the world a better place. Young people in every corner of the earth have great ideas of how to change the world but lack the resources they need to try. The Genesis Generation Challenge will help find and fund them.”
The topics of the prospective projects can range in subject from environmental stability, urban design, clean technology, sustainable cities, public health, global education, cross-cultural exchanges and poverty alleviation. Both non profit and for profit ventures will be eligible.
Each candidate team will be provided with a mentor in their field to help ensure project success.
Stan Polovets, chairman of the board of the Genesis Prize Foundation said of his organization, “Genesis Prize is a symbol of a movement to spark a far-reaching conversation about the universal impact of Jewish values, culture and heritage, especially among young people. Our first laureate, Michael R. Bloomberg, has an inspired idea – to establish a competitive means of promoting positive change – comes at a crucial point in today’s society.”
The Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky, added: “I hope that the Genesis Prize will be an inspiration to young Jews around the world for many years to come and that it will introduce leaders like Michael R. Bloomberg, who have achieved phenomenal heights in various fields as proud Jews connected to their Jewish heritage and the Jewish People.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present Bloomberg with the award this evening at a ceremony at which international dignitaries, Nobel laureates and business leaders from around the globe are expected to attend. Grammy award winning pianist Evgeny Kissin, who became an Israeli citizen last year, will be the featured musical performer.
Recently retired after serving as the host of America’s iconic Tonight Show late night talk show for more than 20 years, comedian Jay Leno has made his first trip to Israel to emcee the event. He told Israel’s Yediot Ahranot Newspaper, “”I’m excited. It’s a real honor. I love Israel, that’s why I’m here. I’ll be visiting, but I’ve got to host this award show, so I’m busy writing jokes.”
In a statement released by Genesis when he agreed to be the host, Leno said, “It is a great honor to be invited to host this prestigious event. I am very excited. This will be my first visit to Israel and I can’t wait to be a part of the Genesis Prize ceremony.”
Mr. Leno, who was invited to meet Israel’s prime Prime Minister Netanyahu at the latter’s official office told the Prime Minister that he was honored to meet him.
Bloomberg was named the inaugural Genesis Prize laureate for what Genesis said are his achievements in public service, philanthropy and entrepreneurship, and his commitment to bettering the world around him. The Prize is administered by a partnership of the Office of the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Genesis Philanthropy Group, and the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Genesis Philanthropy Group has established an endowment in the amount of $100 million to launch the Genesis Prize Foundation, as well as fund the prize and related endeavors that promote young adult engagement.