A generous educational project, initiated and supported by Mr. Ronald S. Lauder through his Foundation, in 16 central and East and Central European countries, in the USA and Israel
Internationally-prominent businessman, philanthropist, and community leader Ronald S. Lauder maintains a deep commitment to his Judaic heritage within a mosaic of charitable and professional endeavors that reach around the world.
Mr. Lauder was appointed United States Ambassador to Austria by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. He brought to this position an extensive knowledge of European history; fluency in European languages; and solid experience gained from his Pentagon position in the early 80's as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO policy.
During his diplomatic posting, Mr. discovered that Jews were still living not only in Hungary, but throughout the Central and Eastern European region. Contrary to the then prevailing opinion, Mr. Lauder was confident that the once proud Jewish communities that had formerly thrived in this region could flourish again. He resolved to help.
Recognizing the urgency of his mission and the magnitude of the need, Mr. Lauder immediately established his Foundation with Jewish education at its core when he returned to New York in 1987 The goal of The Ronald S. Foundation is to support these new communities, especially the Jewish children, through education.The Foundation focuses most of its resources on Jewish schools, camps, and community centers.
Today, The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation proudly operates and/or supports 62 programs spread throughout a network of 16 European countries: Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Croatia and the Ukraine.
In addition, Mr. Lauder's commitment to Jewish community life is further reflected through his leadership with other organizations involved in Jewish community life. He is the President of the World Jewish Congress, the World Jewish Restitution Organization, former Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and President of the Jewish National Fund. He is a trustee or member of the board of: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Anti-Defamation League Foundation, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Brandeis University, and the Abraham Fund. He is a member of the International Society for Yad Vashem and the International Board of Governors of the Tel Aviv Museum. As Chairman of the Jewish Heritage Program of the World Monuments Fund, he is involved in stimulating the restoration of landmark synagogues across the globe.
To build better understanding between individuals living in different cultures, Mr. Lauder has created a non-sectarian International Student Exchange Program linking New York City high school students with their counterparts in Europe. Now in its 12th year of operation, the program is an integral part of The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation.