By Aaron Blevins, 4/26/2012
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles received the largest donation in its 101-year history last week, when longtime federation supporter Geri Brawerman made a $20 million gift on behalf of herself and her late husband, Richard.
The funding will be used to establish and endow the Geri & Richard Brawerman Leadership Institute. The donation will also be used to provide four $10,000 scholarships to area high school seniors this year, with the number of scholarships to increase to 10 in later years.
“It’s absolutely phenomenal,” federation president and CEO Jay Sanderson said, adding that the organization strives to “build” the Jewish community for the future. “It’s totally part of our priorities. It fits in exactly.”
Students who receive scholarships will be considered Brawerman Fellows, and will receive $10,000 for each of their four years in college.
The fellowships will include community service, a retreat, an annual gathering of all current Brawerman Fellows, a Birthright Israel trip, mentoring and more.
The deadline to apply this year is May 11. Applicants will be evaluated in several areas, including their record of leadership, participation in Jewish community service, financial need and GPA.
They need to be Los Angeles County residents for at least three years as of September 2012, and their parents must be permanent residents of Los Angeles.
The fellowship falls in line with several other offerings the federation provides to Jewish youth.
Each year, the organization sends 2,000 young people, ages 18 to 26, to Israel through Birthright Israel. It also provides leadership programs that are tailored to specific professions, and provides assistance to organizations with similar goals, programs and opportunities.
“Engaging young people … is central to our mission,” Sanderson said.
Sanderson said Brawerman, who is declining interviews, has long been a supporter of young people and education. She and her late husband helped establish the Geri and Richard Brawerman Elementary School of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, and the Geri and Richard Brawerman Nursing Institute.
“This was an extra generous gift by a wonderful community leader and philanthropist,” Sanderson said.
Four incoming freshmen will be named Brawerman Fellows in 2012, and they will receive notification of approval by mid-June.
For more information or to apply, visit www.jewishla.org/brawerman.