Met Council's Project Amood: Leadership Development for Russian Speaking Jews is a new transformative program that empowers young Russian professionals to reconnect with their tradition and make an impact in their communities in the most deep and meaningful way. By using a unique and innovative integrated curriculum and providing access to leaders in the Jewish and Russian communities, the program educates and prepares young Russian professionals for community leadership and participation on non-profit boards. The overwhelming positive response from participants and community leaders alike to Project Amood points not only to Met Council's success in designing the program, but to the tremendous need for leadership development for young Russian professionals.
New York City's Russian Speaking Population
Currently in New York City, 20-25% of the Jewish community is made up of Russian speakers according to UJA-Federation studies, the majority of whom have lived here for more than 15 years, yet only a small proportion of these émigrés are represented on American Jewish organizational boards.
To address this problem, Met Council launched Project Amood in 2008 to train Russian speakers between the ages of 25-45 to serve on the boards of Met Council and its network of Jewish Community Councils (JCCs) by developing an integrated classroom based curriculum that includes skills training along with hands-on experiences, Jewish values and history in relation to Jewish leadership roles, Jewish leadership models, and an anti poverty overview, taught by expert professionals, including site visits to observe Board Meetings in actions and providing opportunities and placements for those participating in the Met Council leadership program.
Partnership with the Russian American Foundation
Project Amood is a partnership between Met Council and the Russian American Foundation, together we garner the contacts of both agencies to present a cache of speakers including prominent Jewish communal leaders and Executive Directors, well known Russian professionals who are active members of the Jewish Community, and industry leaders that make program participants want to be a part of this unique experience. In addition, participants are given the opportunity to work closely with and get to know Marina Kovalyov from the Russian American Foundation and Met Council key leadership.
25 participants have graduated including attorneys, financial analysts and health care professionals as well as pioneers in the fields of fashion design and funeral services. Each participant brings a unique perspectives, style, and outlook to Project Amood and is now engaged on community boards and giving back to their fullest potential.