Hillel International Receives Grant to Further Commitment in Creating Safe, Respectful and Equitable Spaces for Professionals and Students



July 31, 2019

WASHINGTON – In recognition of its commitment to address sexual harassment and gender inequity, Hillel International has been awarded a capacity-building grant from the Safety Respect Equity (SRE) Coalition. The grant aims to further Hillel’s work in creating lasting systematic and cultural change for professionals, volunteer leaders and students.

“Hillel International has demonstrated a deep commitment to the coalition’s work over the past 18 months, including the implementation of comprehensive standards in sexual harassment prevention and response and gender equity and empowerment,” said Kari Saratovsky, a project lead for the SRE Coalition. “We are pleased to support their continuing efforts and look forward to seeing Hillel use these funds to further develop and implement best practices across even more campuses.”

The SRE Coalition, formed in 2018, brings together organizations, funders, individuals and experts across the Jewish non-profit sector in a commitment to make all Jewish workplaces and communal spaces safe, respectful and equitable. Since joining the coalition as an organizational leader, Hillel International has increased its collaboration with expert partners and local Hillel professionals and boards of directors to implement workplace standards in sexual harassment prevention and response.

Through the creation of Hillel’s Safety Respect Equity Task Force, Hillel International has updated its sexual harassment policy and complaint process, as well as adopted a new Board of Directors Code of Ethics. With these new policies and procedures in place, designated staff members and lay leaders are working closely with local Hillels to ensure implemented policies meet state and federal law, as well as the commitment’s standards.

In collaboration with expert partners like Sacred Spaces, Hillel International staff members have been trained in appropriately managing sexual assault and harassment investigations, and are continuing to develop response protocols tailored for local Hillels and their unique organizational needs. To better prepare professionals in reporting incidents of sexual harassment, and to support local Hillels in developing their own guidelines, a robust resource library of essential policies, procedures and best practices has been made available on Hillel International’s employee intranet, as well as on

With the support of SRE’s capacity-building grant, Hillel has announced a goal of reaching full organizational-wide participation in respectful workplace trainings. These trainings, which are aimed to give professionals a better understanding about the behaviors and words that generate workplace respect, will be led by certified Hillel professionals and offered online and in-person across the country beginning this summer.

“As a director, these trainings will help demonstrate a commitment to ensuring a respectful workplace for our team, while also empowering our professionals to know how to respond when issues do arise that need to be addressed,” said Tilly Shames, executive director at Michigan Hillel. “In the end, we all benefit, including our students, who will see us as a model of a workplace environment they would like for themselves when they are ready to enter the professional world.”

Hillel’s influence in this space also includes analyzing equity in organizational-wide pay and professional leadership. In partnership with Ellen Konar, an expert in data science and an adviser to the Women in the Workplace 2018 report, Hillel is undergoing a comprehensive regression study of compensation data across positions. The study, along with mandatory bias training for all hiring managers, is part of Hillel’s ongoing efforts to revamp hiring practices and educate and ensure equal pay for professionals.

A full list of the organizations awarded SRE Coalition’s capacity building grants is available at