ORT America will be marking a major 100-year milestone at its annual gala, to be held November 20 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.
The guest of honor will be Dr. Conrad (Connie) Giles, president of World ORT since 2016, and an ORT leader for 50 years who also served in a kaleidoscope of executive roles in major Jewish organizations. ORT America Chairman of the Board Howard Lanznar described Giles as “showing by example what it means to be a Jewish communal leader.” Dan Green, World ORT’s director general and CEO, added, “I believe there is no parallel to Connie’s ability to share the ORT story and inspire others to learn more about our work.”
Since 1922 and through the decades, ORT America has become a successful fundraising organization thanks to the leadership and generosity of thousands of men and women who worked tirelessly to promote ORT’s life-changing programs.
ORT has traditionally played a key role in developing and sustaining Jewish communities through vocational training, education, Judaic studies and Jewish cultural activities. Today the organization has evolved to provide 21st-century skills that empower individuals and strengthen communities and Jewish life worldwide. ORT bridges the gap between ability and opportunity by providing science and technology education to those who would otherwise not have access to those studies. The ORT network today reaches more than 200,000 people a year in schools, universities and vocational training programs in 39 countries.
As part of ongoing work to reach out and offer support where it’s needed most, since last February, ORT has maintained an active presence for refugees from Ukraine. ORT’s Ukraine emergency efforts have covered a range of needs, including security, food and accommodations. As conditions deteriorated, educational institutions across Ukraine have been forced to close or switch to remote learning. This is just one example of how ORT is committed to supporting young students, wherever they live, to remain safe as they receive the education they need and deserve.
Giles has practiced pediatric ophthalmology in metropolitan Detroit since 1963. He is the clinical professional and chief emeritus of pediatric ophthalmology at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and currently continues his academic career at the Kresge Eye Institute of Wayne State University Medical School.
“I am humbled to be chosen to be honored in our 100th year. It has been my personal mission to continue the work of my predecessors and help our beneficiaries around the world receive life-changing education, leading to meaningful and self-sufficient lives,” Connie said.
According to Barbara Birch, ORT America president and CEO, funds raised from the gala will propel ORT into the next 100 years by supporting innovative educational programs that enable people to lead successful lives and investing in global Jewish communities so that they can thrive.