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Hadassah Foundation Awards Fourth Annual Bernice S. Tannenbaum Award To Israeli High Tech Innovator

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June 21, 2012

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Hadassah Foundation Awards Fourth Annual 

Bernice S. Tannenbaum Award To Israeli High Tech Innovator
Recipient established and directs IT Works in Israel

NEW YORK—The Hadassah Foundation this week presented its Bernice S. Tannenbaum Award to Ifat Baron, the founder and Executive Director of IT Works, an Israeli nonprofit. The prize honors an outstanding young female leader who has advanced the status of women and girls in Israel or the United States.

"On behalf of the Hadassah Foundation's Board of Directors, I am delighted that we can honor Ifat Baron and her work teaching technology to underrepresented groups in Israel, including women living in the periphery," said Donna Gerson, Chair of the Hadassah Foundation. "IT Works is doing important work to level the playing field in Israel's high tech marketplace, particularly for women."

The prize is designed to honor professionals in the early stages of a career devoted to social change for women and girls. Baron, whom Israel's Ministry of Education named the person "with [the] most influence in IT education in Israel today," already has had a significant influence on job training in Israel. The prize is awarded based on the nominee's contribution to the field and leadership potential, the merits of her proposal for professional development, and her potential to affect the field beyond the scope of the nominating organization.

Named in honor of Bernice S. Tannenbaum's lifetime of service to the Jewish people, the State of Israel, and Hadassah, the Tannenbaum Award connects the recipient to the accomplishments of Tannenbaum, who served as Hadassah National President from 1976-80. In the late 1990s, Tannenbaum chaired Hadassah's Strategic Planning Committee that proposed the creation of the Hadassah Foundation, and she now serves as the National Board's liaison to the Hadassah Foundation. The Bernice S. Tannenbaum Prize was conceived and implemented through generous contributions from Joan and Leonard Leiman with additional funding provided by The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation

The Hadassah Foundation, which seeks to augment the work of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, is dedicated to refocusing the priorities of the Jewish community through funding innovative and creative projects that serve women and girls from diverse cultural groups within Israel and the Jewish community in the United States. The foundation is a philanthropic pioneer in the fields of economic security for low-income Israeli women and leadership and self-esteem programs for adolescent Jewish girls and young women in the United States. Since 2000, the Hadassah Foundation has awarded grants totaling $5.7 million to 60 nonprofit organizations.

Past prize recipients are Danielle Cantor (2011), Design and Communications Manager, Jewish Women International; Lena Gurary (2010), (former) Director, Supportive Community: Women's Business Development Center, Israel; and Vardit Dameri Madar (2009), Director, Legal Department, Yedid, Israel.

Baron is an innovator and leader in the field of technology skills training, professional development and job placement in Israel's leading economic sector. She founded IT Works (www.itworks.org.il/en/) in 2006 as a result of her experiences as a program manager for Cisco System's corporate social responsibility division. In that capacity, Baron noted the significant number of communities and populations untouched by Israel's high-tech boom. Since then, she has been working to change the employment map of Israel by providing scalable frameworks for technological training and integrating marginalized groups into Israel's thriving economy.

Baron grew up in Netanya, Israel, and did her army service in the Intelligence Force. She has long been concerned with issues related to women, employment and economic empowerment. She holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Netanya Academic College.

"The influence of this prestigious prize extends beyond me and IT Works," Baron said of being honored with the Tannenbaum Award. "It highlights not only the economic gains that women have made to date, but also brings into focus the tremendous work that still needs to be done to advance the lives of women and girls in Israel and around the world."

Founded in 1912, Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, is celebrating its 100th year. Hadassah is a volunteer women's organization, whose members are motivated and inspired to strengthen their partnership with Israel, ensure Jewish continuity, and realize their potential as a dynamic force in American society. For more information, visit www.hadassah.org.

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