The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester is honored to announce a gift of $1 million from the William and Mildred Levine Foundation to launch a center in their name that will lead the Greater Rochester community in efforts to combat bias and intolerance.
Todd Levine, president of the Foundation and the couple’s grandson, led the charge to establish the Levine Center to End Hate at the Jewish Federation.
“My grandparents were people of love, kindness and inclusion toward others,” said Levine. “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.”
Working in partnership with national and local organizations, the Levine Center to End Hate will utilize the broad network and pivotal position of the federation to examine issues related to hate and implement solutions. A steering committee of business, nonprofit, government, philanthropy and law enforcement leaders will guide the center’s programming. The membership of the committee, as well as initial projects, will be announced toward the end of 2018.
Karen Elam, director of community relations for the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester, was promoted to director of the 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,” said Elam. “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 “Bill” Levine, son of Russian Jewish immigrants, joined his father Abe in 1933 in founding Alleson — an amalgam of Abe Levine and Son — originally creating men’s clothing and eventually developing a sports apparel brand. Bill was also successful in real estate and banking, founding the First National Bank of Rochester, which was acquired by M&T Bank in 1999.
Bill Levine sought to give back to his community through the creation of the foundation, which has provided support to many 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.
The Levine Center to End Hate will continue the mission set forth by William and Mildred Levine to promote the well-being of all of Rochester’s citizens by enhancing understanding, embracing diversity and safeguarding the future of the community.