The official announcement of the new prize will be made by Foundation President Jay Ruderman in New York City on Tuesday, at ADVANCE 2011: The Ruderman Jewish Special Needs Conference.
The Ruderman Prize is an international competition open to organizations around the world, including in Israel, that promote the integration of the disabled in the community. The $200,000 prize will be divided among up to 10 award recipients.
The conference, which was established by the Ruderman Family Foundation in 2010, brings together Jewish funders of disability services with the intent of creating a common dialogue and strategy.
This year the conference will feature an address by Academy Award-winning actress and activist Marlee Matlin ("Children of a Lesser God"), a champion of the rights of people with disabilities, former Social Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog, and Timothy Shriver, chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics.
American philanthropist Jay Ruderman, who made aliyah with his family six years ago, has led the Foundation in initiating important development and successful partnerships in the Israeli social welfare arena.
Among the organizations that he and his wife Shira Ruderman are involved in are the JDC, Access Israel, Kesher, Kamah, Wings of Krembo,Shalhevet, and Keren Isef, among others..
"This new initiative will empower organizations with the most innovative and creative programs and give them the funding to run forward and make a real change," said Jay Ruderman.
"Standing still while our brothers and sisters with disabilities are shut out of opportunities is simply not an option. We will continue to champion for full inclusion of the disabled in society and equal opportunities for all."
The application form for the awards will be available at www.rudermanfoundation.org starting December 6, and applications will be due on March 15, 2012. Award winners will be announced in June.
The Ruderman Family Foundation is dedicated to supporting the challenged in society by focusing on individuals with disabilities in the Jewish community, and in improving Israel-Diaspora relations.