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Stan Polovets’ Journey to Co-Founding The Genesis Prize Foundation

The Genesis Prize Foundation’s Stan Polovets’ story is a testament to the transformative power of inclusive leadership and the profound impact of dedicated philanthropic efforts.

Stan Polovets' Journey to Co-Founding The Genesis Prize Foundation
Stan Polovets Co-Founder of The Genesis Prize Foundation

by Contributing Author

Stan Polovets’ diverse career has equipped him with unique skills and perspectives that he has effectively channeled into his philanthropic endeavors. Most notably, he co-founded The Genesis Prize Foundation, which promotes Jewish identity and supports various humanitarian causes worldwide.

Established in 2013, The Genesis Prize Foundation aims to recognize and celebrate the achievements of Jewish individuals who have made significant contributions to society while embracing their Jewish identity.

“The Genesis Prize Foundation was created to foster Jewish pride by highlighting the professional and philanthropic achievements of Jewish individuals,” Stan Polovets says. “In a time where assimilation and antisemitism often suppress open expression of Jewish identity, the Foundation aims to inspire pride by showcasing those who have achieved exceptional success while maintaining their Jewish heritage.”

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Stan Polovets: A Diverse and Distinguished Career

Stan Polovets has held prominent positions across various industries, demonstrating his versatility and leadership skills. In the biopharmaceutical sector, Stan Polovets served as chairman of Anchiano Therapeutics Ltd., a company focused on developing innovative cancer treatments. His leadership demonstrated his commitment to advancing health care and supporting cutting-edge medical research.

Stan Polovets made a notable impact in the energy sector as the CEO and board chairman of TNK-BP, one of the world’s largest oil companies. He also served as the CEO of the Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR) Consortium, which partnered with BP in its merger with TNK-BP.

Additionally, Stan Polovets has held various management and advisory positions at ExxonMobil, KPMG, EY, and The Rand Corporation. These roles have further developed his corporate governance, strategic planning, and financial management skills. He has also had key roles at several universities and think tanks.

The Genesis Prize Foundation Laureates

The Genesis Prize Foundation has honored 12 individual recipients and two groups of organizations since its founding in 2023. The inaugural laureate, Michael Bloomberg, set the tone for the prize’s philanthropic mission in 2014 by donating his $1 million prize to the Genesis Generation Challenge, a global competition for young social entrepreneurs. Using the prize funds for charitable purposes has continued with each subsequent laureate.

The following year, actor and producer Michael Douglas focused on promoting the inclusion of intermarried families within Jewish communities. In 2016, renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman used his award to support organizations that promote inclusion for people with disabilities. Sculptor and artist Anish Kapoor, the 2017 laureate, allocated his prize funds to aid refugees and address the global refugee crisis.

Also in 2017, The Genesis Prize Foundation announced U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the recipient of the first Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award. Justice Ginsburg was recognized for her groundbreaking legal work in civil liberties and women’s rights in the United States, which inspired people of all faiths and ethnicities worldwide. The five previous Genesis Prize Laureates unanimously selected her for the award.

In 2018, actor and filmmaker Natalie Portman directed her prize toward advancing women’s equality. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots football team and the 2019 laureate, concentrated on combating antisemitism. The 2020 laureate, human rights activist Natan Sharansky, used his prize to support organizations fighting COVID-19. Filmmaker and philanthropist Steven Spielberg, honored in 2021, allocated his funds to organizations fighting for racial and economic justice.

Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer and the 2022 laureate, put his prize funds toward the building of the Holocaust Museum of Greece. In 2023, renowned actor, singer, author, director, and activist Barbra Streisand became the 10th anniversary Genesis Prize laureate. Streisand directed her prize funds to nonprofit organizations working in four areas: protecting the environment, promoting women’s health, combating disinformation in the media, and supporting the people of Ukraine.

Also, in 2023, Jewish activists and organizations were recognized for their significant aid to Ukraine after it was invaded by Russia. In 2024, The Genesis Prize was awarded to Israeli organizations providing treatment, counseling, and support to hostages and their families following the October 2023 attack by Hamas. The Foundation is committed to maintaining international public awareness for the remaining hostages.

The Genesis Prize Foundation has also worked with the Jewish Funders Network to run matching grants programs, which amplify the impact of its initiatives. For example, in 2015, the Foundation’s efforts to welcome intermarried families into Jewish community life resulted in $3.3 million in grants to 27 nonprofit organizations. Similarly, a 2016 program that included those with disabilities in Jewish life led to $3.2 million in grants to 22 nonprofit organizations.

Partnerships play a crucial role in the Foundation’s success. Collaborating with Matan/United Way in Israel, the Foundation has created a global network of funders, providing guidance on philanthropic themes and attracting additional donations. This collaborative approach has led to over $50 million in grants distributed to more than 200 organizations, benefiting tens of thousands of people.

Principles of Leadership and Philanthropy

Stan Polovets’ leadership philosophy emphasizes inclusivity, adaptability, and continuous learning. He believes in listening to diverse perspectives and fostering an environment where team members feel valued and motivated. “Every mistake is a learning and growth opportunity and helps make for better decisions in the future,” he says. These principles have been instrumental in guiding him through the complexities of leading both private and public organizations.

Stan Polovets’ philanthropic efforts extend beyond The Genesis Prize Foundation. In 2003, he founded the Vnimanie Foundation to address the educational and healthcare needs of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and similar conditions in Russia. Inspired by his personal experiences with his son’s learning challenges, Stan Polovets sought to bring about significant reforms in how these conditions are understood and treated in Russia.

The Vnimanie Foundation has sponsored conferences with leading Western experts and educators and lobbied the government to allow the import of medications used in the West. “As a result of Vnimanie’s efforts, ADHD and other learning disabilities are now acknowledged in Russia as legitimate disorders,” Stan Polovets says. Now, medications can be obtained, parent support groups are in place, educational materials have been released, and schools support children with learning differences.

Through his foundational work, Polovets inspires a ripple effect, encouraging others to engage deeply with their communities and invest in transformative projects. His endeavors underscore the power of well-directed philanthropy to bridge gaps between diverse global needs and available resources, creating a culture of generosity and engagement that transcends borders and aims to impact society.

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