David Lubell was honored for his work creating welcoming communities for immigrants and refugees with the 2017 Charles Bronfman Prize.
Lubell, of Decatur, Georgia, is the founder and executive director of Welcoming America, which works in 190 communities across the country to help them eliminate the institutional barriers that make it harder for immigrants to fully integrate. It also works to address the concerns and needs of longtime residents in cities and towns where the newcomers settle. The organization’s model is also being applied in countries around the world such as Australia and Germany.
The annual prize, which carries a $100,000 award, goes to a Jewish humanitarian under age 50 whose work is informed and fueled by Jewish values and has broad, global impact that can potentially change lives.
“At a time when the U.S. and countries around the world face unprecedented polarization, David Lubell’s work creates understanding and connectivity between Americans and immigrants,” said Charles Bronfman, the former chairman of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies and the former co-chairman of The Seagram Company, in a statement. “By ensuring they are made to feel welcome in their new homes, Welcoming America shows us how we can all benefit from the resilience, talent and positive impact of these new Americans – which has forever been the experience of our nation of immigrants.”
Lubell founded Welcoming America in 2009.
“Welcoming communities are vital to our shared future, and it is only by finding common ground and working together that our communities and nation can thrive,” he said in a statement. “As a Jewish American, nothing could make me feel more connected to my values, and to my history, than working to ‘welcome the stranger,’ and I am thrilled that the judges recognized the significance of this work.”