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World Values Network Launches $2.5 Million Fund To Spread Shared Values Message

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February 16, 2021
Robert Smith and Hope Dworaczyk Smith attend the Unlikely Heroes 4th Annual Recognizing Heroes Charity Benefit at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas on November 12, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Peter Larsen/Getty Images for Unlikely Heroes)

The World Values Network (WVN) announced on Feb. 16 that it will launch a global multi-media project, funded by Hope and Robert F. Smith. The project will involve short-form videos featuring world leaders, influencers, celebrities and sports heroes, who will discuss the core values that have motivated their work. The videos will be distributed initially via social media platforms.

The initiative will be introduced on Feb. 18 at the organization’s annual gala, which —this year – highlights African-American and Jewish-American fellowship. The kickoff video will feature Baptist Minister and Civil Rights legend Dr. Virgil Wood.

The initial funding comes through a grant of $2.5 million from mega-philanthropists Hope and Robert F. Smith. Both Smith and WVN are committed to education, African-American entrepreneurship and social and economic justice. Smith’s The Fund II Foundation has supported education organizations including NAF and UNCF. The Foundation’s support of the National Park Foundation allowed the organization to buy Martin Luther King Jr.’s home for preservation in 2019.

“The idea is to get the world’s most influential people to zero in on the core value or set of values that have animated their actions, that have inspired their courage because we believe we have to return to our values,” Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, executive director of WVN, said.

Boteach said the “brand new initiative” will begin immediately and partner with African-American and minority-owned businesses and technology platforms to produce inspirational content that unites families, promotes strong communities and inspires selfless giving.

Boteach said the “brand new initiative” will begin immediately and partner with African-American and minority-owned businesses and technology platforms to produce inspirational content that unites families, promotes strong communities and inspires selfless giving.

He noted that after speaking to multiple leaders around the world, they love sharing what inspires them to get out of bed every morning. The rabbi added the collaboration between WVN and Smith will allow for a “values renaissance” on a global scale that will directly impact Jewish and Black Americans. The Global Values initiative seeks to inspire others to follow the leads of those featured in the videos. Inspired by the friendship and collaboration between Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights movement, Boteach hopes that this grant will help make the Black and Jewish communities more united.

“If you look at the friendship and collaboration between Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King Jr., it was very values focused. Ending segregation, violence and Jim Crow, it was all based on shared values,” Boteach said. “We are trying to crystalize [our values mission] with short-form technologically advanced videos that are compelling and that can God-willing help hundreds of millions of people.”

The gala will take place virtually and will begin at 4:00 p.m. PST. For more information and to order tickets, visit the website.

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