The Charles Bronfman Prize Names David Lubell as 2017 Recipient

The Charles Bronfman Prize today announced David Lubell, Founder and Executive Director of Welcoming America, as its 2017 recipient for his work creating welcoming communities for immigrants and refugees. The Charles Bronfman Prize – and an award of $100,000 – is presented annually to an innovative and dynamic humanitarian under the age of 50 whose work is informed by Jewish values and has global impact that changes lives and inspires future generations.

“At a time when the U.S. and countries around the world face unprecedented polarization, David Lubell’s work creates understanding and connectivity between Americans and immigrants,” said Charles Bronfman, the namesake of the Prize. “By ensuring they are made to feel welcome in their new homes, Welcoming America shows us how we can all benefit from the resilience, talent and positive impact of these new Americans – which has forever been the experience of our nation of immigrants. I am delighted by the judges’ selection of David Lubell as the 2017 Charles Bronfman Prize recipient”.

“On the eve of World Refugee Day, I am honored to bring awareness – through The Charles Bronfman Prize – to the courage and determination of all people who come to the U.S. for a better life, as well as to the importance of our country living up to its values as a welcoming nation,” said Lubell. “Welcoming communities are vital to our shared future, and it is only by finding common ground and working together that our communities and nation can thrive. As a Jewish American, nothing could make me feel more connected to my values, and to my history, than working to ‘welcome the stranger,’ and I am thrilled that the judges recognized the significance of this work.”

Launched in 2009, Welcoming America has spurred a growing movement across the U.S. connecting community, government and nonprofit leaders; building the capacity of these leaders to plan for inclusion for immigrants moving into their cities and towns; and helping communities change local systems and culture as they communicate the socioeconomic benefits of inclusion.

With a presence in more than 190 communities across the country, Welcoming America works to share promising practices and a common framework to help create an environment where everyone can truly thrive. Welcoming America’s groundbreaking social change model is unique in its holistic local focus that recognizes that our differences as Americans are the source of our strength defined by our citizenship and shared values. The organization helps communities eliminate the institutional barriers that make it harder for immigrants to fully integrate, and works to address the concerns and needs of longtime residents in cities and towns where newcomers settle.

One in nine Americans now lives in a Welcoming Community committed to the economic, social and political integration of newcomers, including a significant proportion of the nation’s major cities, and many smaller towns. At a time when 1 in 4 children in the U.S. is an immigrant, or the children of immigrants, Welcoming America’s work is more relevant than ever. 40% of America’s Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants, or their children, and Welcoming America is working to make sure immigrants can continue to help the U.S. reach its full potential.

The organization’s model is also being applied in countries around the world such as Australia and Germany, addressing one of the greatest global challenges of our time.

“David is truly a model for how to effect change in this world,” said Anne Marie Burgoyne, Managing Director of Social Innovation at Emerson Collective on behalf of his nominating team. “He is transforming the way Americans see immigrants and refugees and forging a more inclusive nation in which all people, including immigrants, have the opportunity to reach their greatest potential, engage with their community, and fully contribute their talents.”

To learn more about David Lubell



Previous Prize recipients include Etgar Keret, internationally acclaimed Israeli author, storyteller and filmmaker; Rebecca Heller, Co-Founder and Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project; Sam Goldman, Founder and Chief Product Officer of d.light; Eric Rosenthal, Founder and Executive Director of Disability Rights International; Karen Tal, Former Principal of The Bialik-Rogozin School and Co-Founder of Education Insights; Jared Genser, Founder and President of Freedom Now; Sasha Chanoff, Founder and Executive Director, RefugePoint; Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, Co-Founders of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP); Rachel Andres, Founder and Director of Jewish World Watch’s Solar Cooker Project; Dr. Amitai Ziv, Founder and Director of the Israel Center for Medical Simulation; Dr. Alon Tal, Founder of Israel’s Arava Institute for Environmental Studies; and Jay Feinberg, Founder and CEO of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation.

The Charles Bronfman Prize celebrates the vision and endeavor of an individual or team under the age of 50 whose humanitarian work is inspired by Jewish values and whose accomplishments are of universal benefit. The Prize brings public recognition to their work and impact, providing inspiration to the next generations. An internationally recognized panel of Judges selects the Prize recipient(s) and bestows an award of $100,000. Ellen Bronfman Hauptman and Stephen Bronfman, together with their spouses, Andrew Hauptman and Claudine Blondin Bronfman, established The Charles Bronfman Prize to honor their father and his commitment to applying Jewish values to better the world and to inspire the next generations.

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Martin Irom
Martin Irom Communications

Vanja Pantic Oflazoglu
Welcoming America