News: News Press Releases

Azrieli Foundation Pledges $5 Million to Birthright Israel Foundation of Canada

—February 3, 2015

For Immediate Release — The iconic Azrieli name, which is attached to so many Jewish and Israel-based programs and organizations, is now proudly connected to the Birthright Israel Foundation of Canada (BRIFC) thanks to a $5 million pledged gift from the Azrieli Foundation.

On behalf of the Azrieli Foundation, Dr. Naomi Azrieli, Chair & CEO, said, “My father often spoke of his two homelands, Canada and Israel, as the places where he was blessed to do what he loved best. His opportunity to express himself professionally started in Canada and eventually let him fulfill his dream of making a contribution to his other homeland, Israel. For him, the two have always been entwined. With Azrieli Foundation’s gift to Taglit-Birthright Israel, we are continuing his legacy of love for Israel and his dedication to education. We hope our gift will inspire other Canadian donors to step forward and make their own gift, which will be leveraged by ours, to ensure more Canadian young adults have the chance to experience their birthright.”

The gift of five million dollars will support the Taglit-Birthright Israel (BRI) program, a fully subsidized ten-day educational trip to Israel for young Jews between the ages of 18 and 26. The funds will be used to support and expand offerings of BRI trips for eligible Canadians and to sponsor special needs trips for individuals with developmental and/or physical disabilities who are eligible for participation. The Holocaust education component of the BRI trips will be enhanced by the award-winning publications and associated educational tools from the Azrieli Foundation’s Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program.

Additionally, the Azrieli Foundation gift will also encourage others to contribute to the Birthright Israel Foundation of Canada through a matching gift program called the Azrieli Challenge Fund.

Charles Bronfman, co-founder of the Taglit-Birthright Israel program, had the opportunity to speak to David Azrieli not very long before his passing.

“By making this five year commitment, the Board members of the Azrieli Foundation have shown their love and respect for David, who loved Israel and believed in the impact of Birthright Israel on future generations” said Bronfman. “We at Birthright Israel thank him and those connected with his Foundation. We promise that Birthright Israel will continue to be of significant benefit to the Jewish People for many years to come.”

Echoing Bronfman’s sentiments, David Engel — chair of BRIFC — said, “The Azrieli Foundation gift is a statement of the Foundation’s commitment to Jewish identity and to the next generation of our Jewish community. It will help ensure the continuity of a phenomenal program that impacts thousands of Jewish young adults and it will hopefully encourage others to consider contributing to the Birthright Israel Foundation of Canada.”

For more information about BRI, please email Chaia Nadal, Director of Development Birthright Israel Foundation of Canada, or call 416-398-7785 ext. 3.

For more information about the Azrieli Foundation, please email Dena Libman, Chief Operating Officer, Azrieli Foundation, or call 416-322-5928.

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