Hillel International Marks Start of 100th Year Building Vibrant Jewish Community on Campus, Launches $150M Campaign



December 13, 2022

As we celebrate our past, we work to build our future,” – CEO Adam Lehman

WASHINGTON Hillel International, the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, is celebrating its centennial – marking 100 years since the first Hillel was established in 1923. The organization will kick off a year-long celebration of campus Jewish life today during its general assembly in Dallas December 12-15, including a new global campaign to raise $150 million to sustain and grow Hillel’s impact for generations to come. 

“In 1923, at the University of Illinois, Rabbi Benjamin Frankel established the first Hillel and launched what is now a global movement supporting Jewish students of all kinds on college campuses around the world,” said Hillel International CEO Adam Lehman. “As we celebrate the incredible legacy of Hillel’s first century, we are also working to ensure a strong Jewish future through Hillel’s next 100 years. Engaging the diverse range of people who have been impacted by the Hillel movement, our Promise of a New Generation campaign is critical to fulfilling our vision of engaging and inspiring every Jewish student, and developing future generations of Jewish leaders.”

The Promise of a New Generation Campaign looks to the future and envisions thriving Jewish life on the more than 850 campuses that Hillel serves for the next 100 years. In joyful celebrations and difficult moments alike, Hillel is dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish students so they can enrich the Jewish people and the world as leaders in their communities. In pursuit of this mission, Hillels around the world will highlight this milestone and collectively raise the funds necessary to have a transformational impact on the Hillel movement’s ability to reach, teach and inspire students.

Skip Vichness, Chair of Hillel International’s Board of Directors said, “The current moment has made clear our imperative to provide constant support for Jewish students. The more than one million students who have benefitted from opportunities at Hillel over the past century are testament to the enduring nature of our movement. The Promise of a New Generation Campaign provides the foundation for a future in which Jewish students around the world continue to find fulfillment, inspiration and community when they participate in Hillel.”

Over the next year, The Promise of a New Generation campaign will continue to lay the groundwork for securing Hillel’s future through capital campaigns, legacy and endowment gifts, and a new Innovation Fund that will fuel movement-wide experimentation in student experiences and talent approaches to vault Hillel into its next century. To date, more than 60 campus Hillel affiliates are participating in the campaign, and the effort has already received leadership gifts from supporters to Hillels across the country, including Berkeley Hillel, Brown RISD Hillel, UCLA Hillel, and University of Wisconsin Hillel, among others.

“Having strong, grounded Hillel-centered Jewish life on campuses is critical in building the kinds of communities that universities need to thrive in the 21st century,” said Tom Tisch, trustee at Brown RISD Hillel

Initial donors to the campaign include Melissa and Ricky Sandler (University of Wisconsin Hillel), the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation (Berkeley and UCLA Hillels), Julie Monkarsh Gadinsky (UCLA Hillel) and actress Mayim Bialik (UCLA Hillel), one of the stars of The Big Bang Theory and a longtime supporter of UCLA Hillel.

“The leaders who will propel Jewish life into the future are on college campuses today,” said Matthew Bronfman, Chair of the Hillel International Board of Governors. “The Promise of a New Generation Campaign will ensure that Hillel will be there to guide these students, empower them, and inspire them on their Jewish journeys for years to come in new ways that meet the moment, just as Hillel has done for generation after generation of young Jews for 100 years.”

In addition to the Promise of a New Generation campaign, Hillel’s Centennial includes a reimagined website launched on December 7, and will also include multiple in-person events and digital opportunities throughout 2023 that celebrate Hillel’s storied past and connect current students, alumni, former professionals and staff members, and community members with the future of Jewish life on campus.