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In Gratitude: Frank Lowy AC

2013 Nadiv Keren Hayesod Award Recipient

Sydney, Australia

The Closing Event of the annual Keren Hayesod-UIA World Conference, held in Jerusalem on June 20, 2013, in the presence of President Shimon Peres, witnessed a rare and moving occurrence: the bestowal of the 2013 Nadiv Keren Hayesod Award upon Frank Lowy AC, one of the most outstanding Jewish leaders of our time.

Frank Lowy

from l-r: President Shimon Peres z”l; Frank Lowy AC

An international businessman known for his philanthropy, Frank Lowy believes the most prized gift he can give is his time. While it is relatively easy to write a cheque, it requires much more effort to participate. He does both but always does so with clear guidelines in mind. Frank’s contributions are carefully deliberated and directed only to places where he believes they will make a difference. Although he can give spontaneously, he does not give thoughtlessly.
In Australia, Frank, his wife Shirley and their family have been contributing to medical research, education and the disadvantaged for decades. The Lowy name can be found on several buildings including a cancer institute, a heart institute and the nation’s premier think tank for foreign affairs, known as The Lowy Institute.
The Hugo Lowy Synagogue in Sydney, named in memory of Frank’s father, is a place of great meaning for the family. Indeed, the Jewish world is the central focus of its philanthropy. For many years Frank was chairman of Keren Hayesod-UIA Australia. Prior to that, he was also chairman of Jewish Communal Appeal. The family continues to be Australia’s major donor to both these organizations. It is also a significant donor in California, USA.
Particularly special to Frank is a gift he made to enable the Memorial Museum of the Golani Brigade to be built at the Golani Junction in Israel. He served in the Golani during The War of Independence.
Broadly, Frank has made his contributions to Israel through Keren Hayesod UIA. More recently, a private fund called the Pa’amei Tikva Charitable Foundation, endowed through Frank’s efforts, has contributed with extraordinary generosity to education, medicine, medical research, strategic studies and other community charities throughout the country.
The Foundation’s latest gift has assisted the renovation and restoration of a concert hall for the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra in Tel Aviv. This gift will also fund a program which gives 25000 children and youth the opportunity to learn the basics of classical music.
Frank was just 13 when the Holocaust forced him out of school. Today, he takes genuine pleasure in his role as chair of the Tel-Aviv based think tank, the Institute for National Security Studies. He also holds two honorary doctorates; one from The University of Tel-Aviv and one from the University of New South Wales in Australia.
In 2000 he was awarded the highest civilian honour in Australia, Companion of the Order of Australia, AC, for his contribution to business and philanthropy. In 2008, he was honoured for his contribution to philanthropy with a commemorative Australian postage stamp bearing his photo.
Frank has always believed in public service and served for ten years on the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia (Central Bank). He served an equal numbers of years as president of the State Art Gallery and is now in his tenth year as chairman of the Football Federation of Australia where he is credited with successfully rebuilding football as a professional sport.
Born into a modest family in Czechoslovakia in 1930, Frank spent the last years of World War II in Budapest. At the age of 15, through Aliyah Beth he left for Palestine which he reached after a brief diversion to Cyprus.
While living in Israel, the surviving members of his family migrated from Europe to Australia. He yearned to be reunited with them and, after six years of separation, in 1952 he left for Sydney to join them.
There, he married Shirley Rusanow and they had three sons; David, Peter and Steven, whose families all share the same commitment to philanthropy and to the State of Israel.

Frank Lowy

From left to right: KH-UIA World Board of Trustees Chair, Yohanna Arbib-Perugia; President Shimon Peres z”l; Frank Lowy AC; KH-UIA World Chairman Eliezer (Moodi) Sandberg; KH-UIA Honorary President Julia Koschitzky and KH-UIA Director general Greg Masel 

personal message from Frank Lowy AC to Keren Hayesod-UIA:

The honour bestowed on me tonight by Keren Hayesod-UIA is very significant. It echoes the philosophy of my parents who, in their modest circumstances, practised the Jewish tradition of sharing and collective responsibility.
Keren Hayesod embodies this tradition and after being associated with it for half a century and leading it in Australia for many years, I appreciate the importance of the work it does for Aliyah and Klita.
But I know it also does something deeper. It strengthens the bonds in the Jewish world by providing us in the Diaspora with platform to show partnership with Israel.
While the men, women and children of Israel put their lives on the line all the time, Keren Hayesod provides the means for us to demonstrate our participation in a material and spiritual way.
However imbalanced this may be, maintaining this precious partnership is crucial for both the Diaspora and for Israel.
Keren Hayesod connects us as a global family. Through giving us a way to participate and meet our obligations to each other, it enriches our lives and brings us closer together.

The worldwide Keren Hayesod family wishes to express its deep gratitude and appreciation to Frank Lowy AC for decades of selfless generosity, inspiring leadership and boundless commitment. Frank embodies the most lofty values of Keren Hayesod-UIA and we wish him many more years of activity, health and happiness together with his loved ones.