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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Genesis Group donates $10.8 mil. to create scholarship fund

Published: April 3, 2009
Section: News

The university received a $10.8 million dollar grant from the Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) in order to establish a Brandeis Genesis Institute for Russian Jewry.

The grant would provide scholarships for Russian-speaking Jews.

The money will fund up to 60 undergraduates, 14 master’s degree candidates, six Ph.D candidates and 132 participants in Brandeis summer programs over the next five years starting in 2009.

University President Reinharz said that he was excited about the GPG’s grant because it fits in with the university’s academic purpose.

“The intention of this scholarship is to acquaint these students with their heritage,” he said. “That’s something we do with any number of our students every day on campus.”

While there are no existing statistics for how many Brandeis students are Russian-speaking Jews, the Russian club has roughly 100 members on their listserv and university administrators estimate that there are approximately 150 more Russian speaking students attending the university.

Reinharz said that the negotiations over the grant began two years ago, long before the university was thrust into its current financial crisis; however, Reinharz said that the university’s current economic situation only makes GPG’s donation more important.

Currently, 70 percent of the undergraduate population is on financial aid–a symptom of Brandeis’ need-blind admissions policy.

“Nothing is more important to the university right now than scholarship funding,” he said. “This is an opportunity to fund up to 60 students, it is not something we could turn up.”

Additionally, Reinharz said that over 60 percent of graduates from Brandeis’ summer programs end up attending the university as undergraduate students. Increasing funding for students to attend summer programs at the university is “a great way to attract students,” Reinharz said.

Reinharz said that he views this scholarship as a way to increase the number of applicants to the university without decreasing the quality of student admitted, and said that if the university is able to offer money to unique interest groups, it may attract students who might otherwise have looked over the university.

“Right now, everyone applying to school is worried about how they are going to pay for this,” he said. “These kinds of funds are win-win.”