Geez! What big surprise. As if he needs a million dollars.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will be honored on Monday as the first recipient of a $1 million award that organizers are calling the “Jewish Nobel Prize.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel will present the award, named the Genesis Prize, to Mr. Bloomberg at a ceremony in Jerusalem in May. The award, established by a charity founded by Russian Jewish billionaires, aims to honor “exceptional people whose values and achievements will inspire the next generations of Jews.”
The announcement of the inaugural award will be made at a news conference in New York on Monday. The charity, the Genesis Philanthropy Group, has financed an endowment of $100 million to pay for the prize for years to come.
While New Yorkers are more focused on the race to replace Mr. Bloomberg and have mixed feelings about his legacy, the award is a reminder of his role on the international stage, one that will continue after he leaves office. Since he is hardly in need of the $1 million prize, Mr. Bloomberg plans to donate the money to a philanthropic cause to be named next year.
Mr. Bloomberg was chosen from more than 200 nominees from around the world because of his “track record of outstanding public service and his role as one of the world’s greatest philanthropists,” according to the prize committee. Members of the committee included Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize-winning author, and Meir Shamgar, a former Supreme Court justice in Israel.
In a statement, Mr. Bloomberg said he was honored to receive the award.
“Many years ago, my parents instilled in me Jewish values and ethics that I have carried with me throughout my life, and which have guided every aspect of my work in business, government, and philanthropy,” the statement said. “The Genesis Prize embraces and promotes those same values and ethics — a common thread among the Jewish people worldwide that has helped move humankind forward for centuries.”
The Genesis Philanthropy Group was created as a foundation that promotes Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide. Mr. Bloomberg is the grandson of immigrants from Russia and what is now Belarus.
The foundation was set up by three of Russia’s so-called oligarchs: Mikhail M. Fridman, Pyotr Aven and German Khan.
The prize is administered in partnership with the Israeli government, and is open to those who have succeeded in various fields, including science, the arts, business and diplomacy, the organizers said.
The charity’s leaders have high hopes for the prize: they want it to be as prestigious as other major international awards like the Nobel Prizes and the MacArthur awards.