Premier Mike Baird guest of Moriah Foundation

September 28, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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NSW Premier Mike Baird was the guest of honour at the annual Moriah Foundation Members’ Cocktail Party attended by 150 Foundation Members.

Rabbi Benji Levy, Premier Mike Baird, Judy Lowy, Lauren and Bruce Fink and NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton

Rabbi Benji Levy, Premier Mike Baird, Judy Lowy, Lauren and Bruce Fink and NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton

Brian Schwartz, the Foundation chairman, introduced and welcomed the Premier to the event held at the home of Judy and Steven Lowy and acknowledged the $2.4 million in recurrent NSW government grant funding that is provided to Moriah College annually.

“Without this funding, the school simply could not continue to provide the outstanding Jewish and secular education to our children – placing Moriah consistently in the top 10 New South Wales independent schools,” Schwartz said.

Baird spoke of his trade delegation visit to Israel in April, including the partnership formed with the Weizmann & Garvan medical research institutes, and cyber-security and counter-terrorism learnings. He spoke passionately about Israel and its focus on innovation and outlined development plans focused on the White Bay precinct in Balmain.

The Premier also spoke about the impact on both he and his wife of their visit to Yad Vashem, and declared it a “life changing experience.”

Foundation President Judy Lowy thanked Baird for his insights and for being so generous with his time.

“We appreciate the support that you and your Government provide to Moriah and to the Jewish community overall. It is critical for Moriah’s long-term success to have the support of our leaders and we are truly fortunate that the Premier has demonstrated that support, not just tonight but in all sorts of ways over a long period of time,” Lowy commented.

The Moriah Foundation continues to grow, from its beginnings following the Moriah College 2011 Capital Appeal, to now having raised over $15 million, including the $10 million raised for the Capital Appeal. In the past few years, the Foundation’s efforts have been focused on means-tested educational bursaries for the community’s most needy families and support for the Israel Study Tour for Year 10 students.

Through the generosity of the Foundation’s donors, 30 children are now supported through the bursary program.

“For 2017 we presently have six bursaries to award and for those of you here who have assisted us, we are extremely grateful. Thank you. For those of you who may be considering giving this gift of education to a needy child, we still have so many more applicants we would love to offer places to,” Lowy said.

Lowy commented that The Romy Birnbaum Memorial Bursary Endowment Fund, established last year through a major gift of $1 million from Bev and Phil Birnbaum, has begun to grow through its investment earnings and through the addition of new capital – enabling another bursary to be awarded from this Fund in 2017, while preserving its capital base.

Speaking about the very special Israel Study Tour to Poland and Israel, Lowy said that goal is to send as many of our Year 10 students as possible.

“A few years ago, only a minority of our families could afford to send their children on this program.  Over the last three years, since the Foundation has begun offering subsidies and interest-free loans, our numbers have grown exponentially. This year we expect approximately 120 kids – representing nearly 90% of the cohort.  This compares to 21 students prior to the Foundation’s involvement. I want to acknowledge this extraordinary contribution from Y2i and the Education Heritage Foundation – in particular the Dunkel family.  We share the belief that sending Year 10 kids to Israel will have a lasting influence on their love of Israel and their Judaism,” Lowy said.

Lowy presented ten families with The Leon & Yvonne Fink Memorial Award for Commitment to Jewish Education – a new award established by Bruce and Lauren Fink in memory of Bruce’s late father and mother, Leon and Yvonne. It is a special recognition that acknowledges Foundation benefactors – at the level of Founder ($250,000) and above.

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