BBYO Receives Historic $25 Million Pledge to Support Women’s Leadership and Empowerment


MEDIA CONTACT Debbie Shemony, 202.857.6691; mailto: [email protected]

DENVER, CO—BBYO announced today that Chicago business leader and philanthropist, Ted Perlman, and his wife, Harriette, have pledged $25 million to accelerate BBYO’s initiatives for young Jewish women and teens. The gift, one of the largest single commitments to a youth-serving organization in modern history, provides immediate resources for BBYO to launch and expand new programs and provides endowment funding that will support such activities in perpetuity.

The gift from Mr. Perlman, Founder of The HAVI Group, and his wife, will focus on providing unprecedented resources for BBYO to train young women through the launch of The Anita M. Perlman Women’s Leadership Initiative, which is named in honor of Mr. Perlman’s mother. This Initiative will:

  • Mobilize young women who are BBYO alumni to take on positions of leadership in BBYO as advisors, professionals, and advocates;
  • Create new leadership development opportunities so that these young women can strengthen their character, careers, and contributions to society; and
  • Otherwise strengthen BBYO’s activities related to empowering, educating, and training female leaders.  

Anita M. Perlman is considered by many to be the first feminist to make changes in the Jewish institutional world. Among her innumerable contributions to Jewish causes globally, she is best known as the founder of the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG), a division of BBYO, which is one of the largest sisterhoods of teenage girls in the world. The Anita M. Perlman Women’s Leadership Initiative will inspire young women to honor the very characteristics that Mrs. Perlman epitomized throughout her extraordinary life of leadership, community involvement, and philanthropy.

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, the International Teen President (N’siah) of BBYO. “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.”

Ted and Harriette have made an extraordinary gesture in honor of an extraordinary woman. Anita gave life to a movement of powerful young Jewish women and this initiative will enable us to honor her by impacting the lives of others,” said Matthew Grossman, Chief Executive Officer of BBYO. “She would have it no other way.”

In honor of the Perlman’s historic gift, the position of International N’siah—the teen leader elected by thousands of her peers internationally through BBYO’s democratic process—will be renamed The Anita M. Perlman International N’siah. The International N’siah serves a one-year term as an ambassador to Jewish teens globally during a gap year before college when she travels the world on behalf of BBYO. 

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 Mr. Perlman. “It is an honor to support her vision in the twenty-first century.”  

The gift was publicly announced by Mr. Perlman on Thursday evening, February 14, 2019, at BBYO International Convention (IC), the single largest gathering of Jewish teen leaders in the world, taking place over Presidents’ Day weekend, February 14–18, in Denver, Colorado. As one of the largest annual events in the Jewish community, attendance at IC is expected to exceed 5,500 teens and adults. IC 2019 will also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG) and the incredible role that women like Anita M. Perlman have played in leading and shaping young women in the Jewish community.

BBYO is a safe and welcoming teen community wherein adolescents develop their own personal Jewish identity. The teen-led programming is always fun, with an emphasis on connectivity between young Jews all over the world. Teens emerge with precious friendships and practical leadership skills that will serve them well into the future. Committed to a pluralistic experience, BBYO welcomes all Jewish teens regardless of background, denominational affiliation, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or abilities.


About BBYO

BBYO is the leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. For more than 90 years, BBYO‘s leadership programs the Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA, high school fraternity) and the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG, high school sorority) have been providing exceptional leadership programs and identity enrichment experiences, shaping the confidence and character of more than 400,000 alumni who are among the most prominent figures in business, politics, academia, the arts, and Jewish communal life. Now, BBYO’s network of Jewish teens, alumni, parents, volunteers, and philanthropists serves as the Jewish community’s most valuable platform for delivering to the post Bar/Bat Mitzvah audience fun, meaningful, and affordable experiences. With year-round activities in hundreds of local communities and inspiring world-wide travel experiences, BBYO’s broad program menu enables teens to explore areas of leadership, service, civic engagement, Israel education, and Jewish values.

Please note that BBYO should not be referred to as the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, but rather as “BBYO.”

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