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Jewish Federation receives $1 million gift to combat bias

jewish-federation-logoThe Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester has received a $1 million gift from the William and Mildred Levine Foundation to combat bias and intolerance.

Foundation President Todd Levine led the charge to establish the Levine Center to End Hate at the Jewish Federation.

Todd Levine
Todd Levine

“My grandparents were people of love, kindness and inclusion toward others,” Levine said in a statement. “We want the Levine Center to End Hate to perpetuate their values and fight all of the negativity we see aimed at others due to differences in race, religion, sexual orientation and more. With education, dialogue and positive action, we can bring about real change.”

The center will work with local and national organizations to use the broad network and pivotal position of the Federation to examine issues related to hate and implement solutions, officials said. A steering committee of business, nonprofit, government, philanthropy and law enforcement leaders will guide the center’s programming.

The membership of the committee and its initial projects will be announced later this year. Meanwhile, Jewish Federation director of community relations Karen Elam has been promoted to director of the new center.

“The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester has a long history of engaging on issues of concern not only to the Jewish community but also to the other faith and ethnic groups that form the mosaic of our city,” Elam said. “The Levine Center to End Hate will build on that strong foundation as we work together to eradicate destructive, hateful influences in our community.”

The William and Mildred Levine Foundation was established in 1987. The late William Levine, son of Russian Jewish immigrants, joined his father in the family business, Alleson Athletic, in 1933. Levine also was successful in real estate and banking, founding the First National Bank of Rochester, which was acquired by M&T Bank in 1999.

The foundation has provided support to various causes for children including the William and Mildred Levine Pediatric Surgical Suite and the William and Mildred Levine Autism Clinic at Golisano Children’s Hospital; the EquiCenter; Camp Good Days and Special Times; Autism Up; and the Champion Academy, among others.

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