The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity (EWF) in New York is launching a new impact-driven philanthropic strategy to advance human rights around the world.
The foundation, led by Elisha and Marion Wiesel, will adopt a hybrid approach that will not only grant funds but also work with organizations directly as partners, offering access to innovative thinking partners and acting as an emblematic megaphone to champion their cause.
The foundation’s recalibrated grantmaking program will seek to fund organizations that embody Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel’s legacy as an educator and activist. Grants to educators will support moral educational programs inspired by Jewish values. The foundation is seeking to support programs and projects that foster dialogue, especially in engaging ways.
Activist grants, meanwhile, will focus on programs that restore the rights and dignity of the Uyghur population, in keeping with Elie Wiesel’s belief that “sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the centre of the universe.”
The foundation will be awarding one or more grants in each portfolio for its next cycle, ranging in size from $50,000 to $200,000. Applicants must be financially sound 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations or have a U.S.-based fiscal sponsor at the time of application, and be able to demonstrate realistic plans for carrying out the program or project for which they seek funding. Submissions will be reviewed internally through various stages and finalists will be considered by a group of notable names, passionate about the respective value track. Grant applications are being accepted online through the foundation’s website (eliewieselfoundation.org) and are due by Dec. 15, 2022.
“The values my father stood for – combating indifference, educating youth, calling out injustice and defending human rights – continue to be the moral bedrock of the Elie Wiesel Foundation,” said Elisha Wiesel. “We are so excited to announce our new grantmaking program to provide nonprofits that embody those values with the resources to achieve lasting impactful change.”
“Elie Wiesel was my dear friend and trusted partner in the fight for human rights around the world. I think it is very appropriate that his foundation put the fate of the Uyghur people as one of its main priorities and will be focused on delivering resources and moral support to those advocating for the Uyghurs,” said human rights activist and EWF advisory board member Natan Sharanksy. “The free world cannot stay silent about China’s horrific persecution of its Uyghur minority. I know firsthand the power of outside support to those standing bravely against totalitarian regimes. That is why I am glad to serve as an advisory board member at the Elie Wiesel Foundation, dealing with this issue.”
Other members of the advisory board on the Uyghur crisis include Mark Hetfield, president and chief executive officer of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the oldest resettlement organization in the world; and Gulhumar Haitiwaji, the daughter of a Uyghur woman who survived a Chinese re-education camp.
The advisory board on moral educational programs includes neuroscientist, actress, podcast host and author Mayim Bialik, an outspoken activist for mental health and Jewish causes; Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, a professor of religious studies and the director of the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Centre at Manhattan College; and Sarah Idan, the founding chief executive officer of Humanity Forward, a multi-dimensional organization that promotes education and peace.
The Elie Wiesel Foundation was established after Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Under the direction of Wiesel and his wife Marion, the foundation developed, implemented and funded several critical humanitarian programs in Israel, including the Beit Tzipora Centres and the Darfurian Refugee Program. This new direction will allow the foundation to widen its scope through meaningful, action-driven partnerships.