“There are three levels of giving that progressively get more difficult and demanding but at the same time more valuable and impactful:  giving one’s money; giving one’s time; giving one’s home and heart.” Rabbi Chaim Levine, Founder and Executive Director of Brothers For Life

The Greenstein family’s relationship with wounded Israeli soldiers started when a small group of
veterans traveled from Israel to Seattle in 2006. After leaving the airport, the soldiers came by the Greenstein house and were joined by a handful of Seattle familiesgreenstein-family-foundation-micky-2010 eager to help these brave warriors regain their lives and dignity. No one in attendance that first night knew what to expect. After hours of conversation and singing, we felt that something magical and transformative might ensue.  These mentally and physically injured young men were versing, and engaging with those in attendance, especially the children. They were sharing their difficult stories and we tried our best to comfort them, honor them and most importantly, show that they weren’t alone.

Over the following decade this humbling opening night barbecue became a tradition soon replicated in many cities around the world. Hundreds of wounded Israeli soldiers and host community families have been touched, laying the foundation for lifelong relationships and meaningful dialogues on how to help this community of brave soldiers.  The beauty of this organization has evolved in way that no one could have predicted a decade ago. We knew we could improve the lives of the soldiers through activism, but we underestimated the impact it would have on the families they built relationships with.

Nowhere were these valuable lessons more poignant than the impact they have had on our children. The soldiers have taught our kids about being committed to a cause bigger than yourself. They have shared how life can throw debilitating obstacles in our way, and most importantly, how we can rise above adversity. Hearing what these young men have done to regain their lives and move forward has instilled the invaluable lessons of perseverance and maintaining a positive attitude. Learning their stories and appreciating their challenges has engrained a perspective in our children that will serve them well as they move through life and deal with its trials and tribulations. Most importantly, we have relished watching our children develop and maintain relationships that now span over a decade. They want to regularly visit “their brothers” and for them to share in their life milestones.  They have pictures with them in their rooms along with framed mountings of their old uniforms hanging amongst those of their favorite athletes.

greenstein-family-foundation-Gili-2006-copyThe Greenstein’s commitment to Brothers for Life began with opening their homes and hearts by providing a simple meal. Since then the Founders, the Foundation, and the founder’s children have continued to expand their support to this organization, both financially and through the gift of time. This case study embodies the core philosophies which the Greenstein Family Foundation aspires to.  From a very simple attainable event in 2006, a thriving worldwide organization has been built that now touches thousands. A model has been established that can be replicated and further scaled and expanded beyond its initial scope. For example, the Greenstein’s worked with Brothers For Life to branch into the tourism business by developing a family Bar or Bat Mitzvah experience in Israel that they would coordinate and lead. Since holding the pilot event for the Greenstein’s in 2012, Brothers For Life has led many of these milestone events for families.

Being an integral part of Brothers For Life’s evolution has been invigorating beyond expectation. One of the Foundation’s central goals is to find more opportunities to partner with that evokes the spirit of Brothers For Life.

SOLD (Movie)

SOLD: The Award-Winning Movie Driving Meaningful Global Human Rights Initiatives

SOLD The Movie

Every year, more than 3 million children disappear and are sold into trafficking. This heartbreaking statistic affects children in every country on every continent in the world, and it’s time we put a stop to it. SOLD is a groundbreaking new movie designed to combat the number one human rights issue of our time.

An award-winning film, the larger mission of SOLD is to bring greater global awareness to the traumas and prevalence of sex trafficking and to raise substantial funds for relief organizations that are working to rescue and rehabilitate its victims. Judy, through the Greenstein Family Foundation helped create the philanthropic model of High Entry Point Philanthropy which provides investors with a hybrid of economic and philanthropic returns on their investment.  Profits from the film and derived from activities motivated by the film, drive even greater awareness and change. As such, we can greatly magnify the impact of philanthropist’s investments.

SOLD is based on the novel of the same name by Patricia McCormick. It follows the painful journey of a young girl who is taken from her mountain village in Nepal and sold to a brothel in India. This bold and brave film stars Gillian Anderson, David Arquette, and rising Indian star Niyar Saikia, who plays the lead character in her first feature film. In the wake of her performance, Niyar earned a scholarship from the government of India for acting.  SOLD is also executive produced by two-time Academy Award winner Emma Thompson, is directed by Academy Award winning director Jeffrey Brown, and Produced by Jane Charles.

SOLD’s mission to raise awareness and funds to eradicate trafficking, gathers its strength from partnerships with key relief organizations in India, Nepal and the United States, including Childreach International, Aapne Aap, Shakti Shamua and Prajwala.  In Seattle, as a direct response to awareness created by SOLD,  Judy and others co-founded Stolen Youth.   This 501(c)(3) raises funds and awareness for trafficked teens in the Seattle, Washington area. To date, Stolen Youth has helped over 200 victims and trained 1300 personnel. They have raised more than $2.6 million in funding to support this important cause. The SOLD film model is working.

While the human trafficking epidemic is a global one, combatting it occurs on the local level.  First, I highly recommend watching SOLD to experience for yourself how destructive trafficking is to these young people and how vulnerable are it’s victims.  Second, subscribe to the SOLD newsletter to get involved in initiatives to drive meaningful change in this arena. Third, consider donating what you can to SOLD’s relief fund. Every act of giving makes a difference.

SOLD will be shown in theaters across the United States beginning in April 2016. Check out the confirmed screenings here. SOLD was awarded 3 audience awards and a jury award on the festival circuit and was the opening night film for 6 film festivals.

SOLD will be shown at the Nobel Peace Summit on June 6th.