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Philanthropist Larry Goodman Pledges $3 Million for BGU’s Open Apartments Program

Philanthropist Larry Goodman Pledges $3 Million for BGU’s Open Apartments Program

February 27, 2012

Negev Development & Community Programs, Press Releases

CHICAGO, February 27, 2012 – Thirty years ago, real estate businessman Larry Goodman had a chance encounter with an official from Israel’s Ministry of Housing. That meeting led to the allocation of 65 apartments in Beer-Sheva to begin an innovative new initiative through Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) called the Open Apartments Program.

The program bridges the university and its surrounding communities. In lieu of paying rent, selected students live in underprivileged neighborhoods and dedicate at least eight hours of service per week. Students provide local children and adults with a range of activities and services from teaching, planning holiday gatherings and counseling, to assisting with house painting or repairs. They often become role models for young children whose aspirations otherwise would be limited.  

Through the years, the Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundation has supported the Open Apartments Program and recently pledged an additional $3 million to ensure the program’s sustainability and growth. Currently, 104 students reside in 63 apartments. The Foundation’s contribution will enable the acquisition of 10 more apartments to house 30 additional students by October 2012. 

“We must instill the concept of giving back to the community in our young people. This program encourages communal engagement that is of benefit to both the students and the families they mentor,” said Larry Goodman.

BGU recently held a dedication ceremony on its Beer-Sheva campus where they renamed the program to reflect its benefactors; it is now known as the Lillian and Larry Goodman Open Apartments Program. 

“Larry and his family share with BGU a deep and longstanding commitment to the future of Beer-Sheva and of the Negev. We are proud to have joined hands with him once more,” said Doron Krakow, executive vice president, American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Goodman is currently a member of the Board of Governors of Ben-Gurion University, where he also received an honorary doctoral degree.

For more information contact Steven Franklin, Great Lakes regional director.

The Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundations are dedicated to strengthening Jewish life in Chicago, the United States and Israel, as well as improving the quality of life within the Chicago metropolitan area by supporting secular organizations that address hunger issues and promote the prevention of drug abuse. For more information visit www.llgoodmanfdn.org.

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. Activities include showcasing BGU’s academic excellence and cutting-edge research through educational programs, events and informative communications. AABGU’s main purpose is to support Ben-Gurion’s vision and the university that bears his name by creating a community of Americans committed to improving the world tomorrow from the heart of the Israeli desert today.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications