Illumination Fund-supported film, In Search of Israeli Cuisine, Available on Netflix

The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund is excited to announce that the documentary, In Search of Israeli Cuisine, is now available on Netflix, and continues its series of screenings in communities across the U.S.

The film premiered at Lincoln Plaza Cinema and Angelika Film Center. The film has already been shown at more than 100 festivals and special screenings around the world.

Filmmaker Roger Sherman explores the vibrant and up-and-coming culinary scene in Israel with chef/guide, Michael Solomonov of Zahav Restaurant in Philadelphia. Throughout the film, Sherman discovers the surprisingly diverse and beautiful food traditions of Israeli people—Moroccan, Persian, Lebanese, French, Italian, and Russian—Jewish, Arab, Palestinian, Christian, Druze.

Roger is a founder of Florentine Films; his films have won a James Beard Award, an Emmy, a Peabody, and two Academy Award nominations.

The Laurie M. Illumination Fund funded the film to support constructive expression, cultural exploration and communication.

Grantees NEBHDCo and Green City Force Featured on an Episode of NBC’s Give

Did you ever think you’d see a TV reality show about philanthropy and nonprofits?

Well, now there is one!  It’s called Give, and we and two of our grantees were featured on January 14.

Give is part of the NBC network’s new programming block “The More You Know.”  Give highlights the world of philanthropy by featuring the stories of high-impact nonprofit organizations around the country.  Blair Underwood is the Executive Producer, and his co-host is Jenna Bush Hager.

In each episode, a celebrity ambassador visits two nonprofits that use innovation, best practices and dedication for change in their communities and the world.  Give’s producers invited the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund to nominate two organizations that share our mission – to increase access and opportunity for all New Yorkers.

Jenna visited Brooklyn to meet NEBHDCo at its Golden Harvest Client-Choice Food Pantry in Bed-Stuy and Green City Force’s Urban Farm Corps at New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) farm in Canarsie. Laurie Tisch joined Jenna, Blair and consultant Joan Garry to discuss Jenna’s site visits.

These organizations work to increase access to healthy food and economic opportunity in New York City’s economically challenged neighborhoods.  We’re thrilled that they received this recognition.

• NEBHDCo is one of five neighborhood-based community development corporations (CDC’s) that were convened by LISC NYC to create Communities for Healthy Food (CfHF).  LISC NYC’s Communities for Healthy Food is a place-based initiative that integrates access to healthy and affordable food into every aspect of the CDC’s comprehensive community development work.  The Give episode showcases NEBHDCo’s TurnUp Program, a component of its Growing Youth Power Project – a year-round holistic food justice project for youth ages 13 – 18.

• Green City Force is a nationally recognized Brooklyn-based organization that recruits 18-24 year old NYCHA housing residents for rigorous workforce training and AmeriCorps service positions leading to jobs in the sustainability sector.  Their flagship programs are the Clean Energy Corps and the Urban Farm Corps.  In 2016, Urban Farm Corps members built three new farms as a part of NYCHA’s Urban Agriculture Initiative and the City’s Building Healthy Communities initiative, led by the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships with the Fund for Public Health.  The Urban Farm Corps engages NYCHA residents and community members and encourages healthy eating through nutrition education, hands-on activities, and community-wide events.

Watch the full episode here.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor Receives Preston Robert Tisch 2016 Award in Civic Leadership

On December 8th, Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, received the Preston Robert Tisch Award in Civic Leadership for her distinguished career of judicial service. As the first Latina justice, Sotomayor explained how her upbringing in the South Bronx and her Puerto Rican identity, as well as her experiences as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office and as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, informed her concern for the rights of defendants and impassioned dissents supporting equality. During these divisive times, she encouraged the audience to see these challenging events as an opportunity “to get up and figure out what we have to do right, to get up and work harder at the things we believe are right, and to get up and go out and challenge the things we think are wrong.”

The event took place at the MoMA and was moderated by Walter Isaacson. The program is an annual Aspen Institute Award in memory of Preston Robert Tisch sponsored by Steve Tisch, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

Watch the program here.

The Preston Robert Tisch Award in Civic Leadership presented to Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The Aspen Institute. Friday, December 9, 2016, 6:30pm, Museum of Modern Art, NYC. Credit Photo: Erin Baiano

The Preston Robert Tisch Award in Civic Leadership presented to Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The Aspen Institute. Friday, December 9, 2016, 6:30pm, Museum of Modern Art, NYC. Credit Photo: Erin Baiano

Sixth Annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize Winners

The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and Hunter College are pleased to award this year’s Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize to three recipients—two nonprofit organizations and an individual—for outstanding accomplishments in the field of urban public health. The recipients were formally recognized on October 5th at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College in a ceremony hosted by Hunter President Jennifer J. Raab.

This year’s recipients are:

Bloomingdale Aging in Place (BAiP) serves Manhattan’s Upper West Side from 96th and 110th Streets and from Riverside Drive to Central Park West. Its mission is to help older adults lead vital, safe, connected, and comfortable lives in their home communities as their needs evolve. An all-volunteer, intergenerational network of neighbors, BAiP builds community by organizing social activities, sharing information, providing supplemental nourishment and extending a helping hand to aging neighbors who continue to live at home.

The Bronx Transitions Clinic (BTC) is a collaboration between Montefiore Medical Center and the Osborne Association to address the health disparities at the nexus of criminal justice and community health for a marginalized population at a particularly vulnerable time. BTC‘s innovative model for primary care serves individuals recently released from incarceration, connecting them with high-quality medical care; and community care workers drawn from the formerly incarcerated to manage and navigate care for its patients.

Thelma Dye, Ph.D., Hilde L. Mosse Executive Director and CEO at Northside Center for Child Development has over 22 years served as the Director of the Clinic, Director of Research and Training and Chief Psychologist for the Center. Under Dr. Dye’s leadership, Northside has quadrupled its budget, and now serves more than 3,600 underserved children with mental health needs. Her recognition of the need to holistically treat the whole child led her to establish Clinics in Schools to provide diagnostic and therapeutic services to those in need and support to school personnel.

The awards were presented by President Raab, Laurie Tisch, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, and Harold Holzer, the Jonathan F. Fanton Director at Roosevelt House. The Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize is made possible with support from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. The Prize is a tribute to Joan H. Tisch in recognition of her humanitarian activism in health care and social services in New York City.


1,000 Voices Energize Lincoln Center Plaza

On August 13th, Lincoln Center celebrated its 50th Anniversary of the Mostly Mozart Festival by pulling out all the stops—or in this case singers—to present the world premiere of the public domain, a bold and exciting participatory contemporary choral work of 1,000 NYC-based professional and amateur singers composed by David Lang (Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winner) and conducted by Simon Halsey, Choral Director of the London Symphony Orchestra.   The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination was the core supporter of the public domain.  Watch  Our Power: The Making of ‘the public domain’ to hear the story of this unique project.

Despite the sweltering heat and humidity, 2,000 audience members arrived at Lincoln Center to hear and watch the 1,000 voices descend the plaza and deliver a monumental performance.

the public domain is about building a large community around the things that people share. We live in a very fragmented world. We go to different kinds of entertainments, we watch different kinds of programs on our various different devices, we have different political opinions. And there are things that are encouraging us to identify ourselves in such a way that we push other people away. I wondered what it would be like to build a piece out of the things that we all agree on, that could bring us together to forget those other things that tear us apart.

– David Lang

True to its title, “the public domain” was an inspiring outdoor musical event; it also proved an intricate, rich musical composition….This demonstration of commonality could not have come at a better time, given the fractious, divisive national election. It was a great day to be a New Yorker.

– New York Times

For more coverage, visit:

Wall Street JournalArtists and Audience Blend as 1,000 Voices Sing
New York Times1,000 Singers Trying to Find B Flat
New York Times review: ‘The public domain’ Beats the Heat and Humidity

David Miliband Reflects on the Refugee Crisis

Worldwide, 1 in 120 people are fleeing conflict at the moment, 20 million of them are refugees, 40 million of them are internally displaced. This global refugee crisis in an intractable issue that many state leaders and United Nation agencies are attempting to address through resettlement and short-term humanitarian aid, but this is not enough. Many experts, including David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), say governments have to do more.

As former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2010 and current President and CEO of IRC, Miliband brought a dual perspective of both government and NGO leadership and experience on the refugee crisis and insight on long-term solutions to the Aspen Institute’s Conversations with Great Leaders in honor of Preston Robert Tisch on Thursday, May 5th. Joined by Michael Doyle, Director of the Columbia Global Policy Initiative and University Professor of Columbia University, the two discussed the magnitude of this massive humanitarian crisis and the inconvenience of having middle-income countries in Africa and the Middle East to host the majority of refugees. Miliband put forward three solutions to tackle this global issue:

1. Refugee resettlement should occur in wealthier countries like the United States and United Kingdom, but keeping in mind that this will not be a majority part of the solution
2. Integration of refugees into the local economy is key
3. The humanitarian aid system has to become much less divorced from the development system

The event took place at Hunter College’s Roosevelt House, and is part of the Leadership Series in memory of Preston Robert Tisch sponsored by Steve Tisch, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

Laurie Tisch to be Honored with United Way NYC’s Award, The Power of Women to Make a Difference

Laurie Tisch, President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, will be one of four honorees at this year’s United Way of New York City’s Women’s Leadership Council Award Luncheon. The Women’s Leadership Council’s annual luncheon honors the achievements of outstanding women leaders whose professional accomplishments are matched by their commitment to giving back to their community. This year’s event marks 10 years of impact made by exceptional women.

The event will be held at Cipriani 42nd Street on Wednesday, March 9. Other honorees include: Monique L. Nelseon, CEO and Chairman of UniWorld Group, Martine Reardon, Chief Marketing Officer of Macy’s, and Jennifer Warren, Managing Director & Head, U.S. Region, of CIBC.

For more information on the luncheon, please click here.

New Films Offer Unique Perspectives on Israel

In Search of Israeli Cuisine

In Search of Israeli Cuisine, directed by Roger Sherman, explores the vibrant and up-and-coming culinary scene in Israel, a country not typically known for its world-renowned cuisine. Throughout the film, Sherman discovers the surprisingly diverse and beautiful food traditions of Israeli people—Moroccan, Persian, Lebanese, French, Italian, and Russian—Jewish, Arab, Palestinian, Christian.

The film is being currently being screened at local film festivals, and will be released in theaters this summer. To view a list of screenings in your area, please click here.

Colliding Dreams

From award winning filmmakers Joseph Dorman and Oren Rudavsky, Colliding Dreams delves into the intractable question of Zionism and the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Through interviews with Jews and Palestinians currently living in the Middle East, the film explores the history, thoughts, emotions, and ideas of the Jewish state, past and present.  Early reviews call is “Honest, searching, affectionate, respectful, critical” and “beautifully crafted; balanced incredibly informative.”

The film will premiere on March 4 at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in New York City. For more information, please click here.

Both films are funded by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund to support constructive expression, cultural exploration and communication.

First Cohort of Green City Force/NYCHA Urban Farm Fellows Graduates

The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund congratulates Green City Force’s 10th Cohort – Urban Farm Corps for successfully completing their ten-month service on the Red Hook Farms. The Urban Corps members were officially recognized at a graduation ceremony held on Thursday, January 28th, at Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, located in the Pfizer building.

In attendance were NYCHA board members, Margarett Jolly, Director of Research & Development at Con Edison and Green City Force board member, and Dan Wiley, Community Coordinator for Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who presented the graduates with Congressional Service Awards. Speakers at the ceremony included Rasmia Kirmani-Frye, Director of NYCHA’s Office of Public and Private Partnerships, David Buckel, Master Composter at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Rick Luftglass, Executive Director at the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

The program closed with remarks from Urban Farm Corps Member, Kevin Gonzalez, who was chosen as the graduation speaker for his team. Kevin touched on his background prior to Green City Force and the experiences and skills he acquired during his service term. He commended his fellow corps members on their team work while serving their community:

“A group of working young adults came together, a diffusion of cultures: West Indies, Puerto Rican, Panamanian and more, to an understanding of each other’s community and development. Us Harlem and Bronx guys went to the furthest parts of Brooklyn and Queens, and for what you may ask? To serve a community, not perform a menial task. We created the foundation on which public housing residents can cultivate and tend to the land for fresh and healthy alternatives. We went from apartment to apartment in these developments, informed and supplied residents with the means to more sustainable practices. We made a difference by serving our people!”

The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund is a core supporter of the city’s Building Healthy Communities initiative and NYCHA’s Urban Agriculture initiative.


Hunter College Seeks Nominations for 6th Annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize: 4/4 Deadline

Do you know an individual or organization doing outstanding public health work in the NYC region? Please nominate them!

Hunter College is seeking nominations for the 6th annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize. This $10,000 award for distinguished accomplishment in urban public health will be presented to one individual and one nonprofit organization in spring 2016.  Submission of candidates will be accepted until April 4, 2016.

The selection committee includes prominent health policy experts drawn from Hunter faculty and the broader public health community. Nomination guidelines and forms as well as additional information can be found on Hunter College’s Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute website.

Successful candidates will have pioneered creative approaches to tackle significant public health challenges and made valuable contributions to the health of New Yorkers. They will join a respected group of former recipients selected based on achievement, innovation and impact.  Past Joan H. Tisch Prize winners have included Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, Turning Point for Women and Families, Independence Care System’s Breast Cancer Screening Project for Women with Physical Disabilities, LegalHealth, Union Settlement Association, Ann-Marie Louison of CASES, Sandra Hagan of The Child Center of NY, Robert Cordero of CitiWide Harm Reduction, Mark Hannay of Metro NY Health Care for All Campaign, and Dr. Melony Samuels of Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger.

The Prize is a component of the Joan H. Tisch Legacy Project, a major, multidisciplinary initiative at Hunter College that addresses urban public health issues – from diseases such as HIV/AIDS, obesity, and diabetes to health disparities due to economic and environmental factors. The Project is funded by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund in honor of Laurie’s mother, Joan.