BBYO, a Jewish youth organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., has announced a $25 million gift from Ted and Harriette Perlman in support of young Jewish women's leadership and empowerment.
Announced last week during the BBYO International Convention in Denver, Colorado, the gift will provide immediate funding for new and expanded programs as well as endowment funding for long-term support, with a focus on leadership training for young women. Named in honor of Ted Perlman's mother, the Anita M. Perlman Women's Leadership Initiative will work to encourage young BBYO alumnae to assume leadership positions in the organization as advisors, professionals, and advocates; create new leadership development opportunities that help young women strengthen their character, advance their careers, and contribute to society; and strengthen BBYO's activities related to empowering, educating, and training female leaders.
Considered by many to be the first feminist to make changes in the world of Jewish institutions, Anita M. Perlman is best known as the founder of B'nai B'rith Girls, a division of BBYO. In recognition of the Perlmans' gift, the position of International N'siah (president) — a teen ambassador elected by her peers to serve a one-year term traveling around the world on behalf of BBYO — will be renamed the Anita M. Perlman International N'siah.
"Gatherings of BBGs in every corner of the globe begin with a tribute to the power of sisterhood that was inspired by Anita Perlman," said Noga Hurwitz, who currently holds the position. "This incredible philanthropic gesture will keep her memory alive by enabling us to learn, explore, and forge our own paths as female leaders while paving the way for others."
"My mother had the foresight to know, even decades ago, the capabilities of young women and their desire to move into positions of leadership," said Ted Perlman, founder of the HAVI Group. "It is an honor to support her vision in the twenty-first century."