BBYO and Our Common Destiny Launch International Teen Competition


BBYO, in partnership with Our Common Destiny and the Marcus Foundation, is launching a new international $50,000 teen competition called the Common Ground Challenge in which participants will compete to design and implement new engagement programs that encourage dynamic conversation among diverse groups of teens.

The challenge was created in the memory of Ilia Salita, the late CEO of Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) and Co-Founder of Our Common Destiny, the global Jewish unity movement launched by GPG and the State of Israel under the auspices of Israel’s President.

The competition will encourage new BBYO chapter programming rooted in community engagement with teens of different Jewish backgrounds, as well as non-Jewish teens. Grants will be awarded for programs that best meet the following goals:

  • Engage teens across a diverse Jewish landscape in their communities
  • Engage peers from the broader secular community
  • Stretch the capacity of teens to think creatively
  • Can be implemented in a virtual or in-person environment
  • Can be scaled across the global BBYO Movement

“The Common Ground Challenge offers a wonderful opportunity for members of BBYO and beyond to seek creative new ways of connecting and engaging their peers in Jewish life,” said Sandy Cardin, CEO of Our Common Destiny. “This challenge truly honors the memory of its inspiration, Ilia Salita, who dedicated his life to that very mission, and to the goals of Our Common Destiny: uniting Jews the world over through collaboration and innovation.”

“This competition is an incredible way for BBYO chapters to elevate their programming and dream up new ways to connect members with Jewish teens, as well as non-Jewish teens, to explore our differences and shared values,” said Hannah Borenstein, regional teen president (n’siah), BBYO South Jersey Region. “Embodying the concept of ‘by teens, for teens,’ Common Ground Challenge truly gives us an opportunity to strengthen the structure of our community through open dialogue, innovative programming and new relationships.”

Proposed programs will be voted on by teens on social media, using the hashtag #CommonGroundChallenge, as well as a committee of BBYO International Board members and Our Common Destiny staff. The Common Ground Challenge is launching this month and is expected to conclude by May 2021. Details and information can be found here.

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