28 October 2009

HIAS: Google's Brin gives $1 million gift

HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) received a $1 million gift from Google co-founder Sergey Brin, according to a press release from the organization.

The organization was one of the groups that helped his family when it left the Soviet Union some three decades ago.

Both of Google's co-founders (Brin and Larry Page) are Jewish.

The New York Times reports that Brin has given several gifts to Jewish organizations that helped his family:
“I would have never had the kinds of opportunities I’ve had here in the Soviet Union, or even in Russia today. I would like to see anyone be able to achieve their dreams, and that’s what this organization does.”
The gift was announced on the 3oth anniversary of his arrival in the US, when Brin was 6 years old.

Many readers of Tracing the Tribe had ancestors who were helped by HIAS when they arrived. HIAS has been helping immigrants and refugees since it was established in 1881. The estimate is that more than 4.5 million refugees and immigrants have been helped to resettle in the US, Israel and other countries.

In a HIAS press release, chair Michael Rukin noted that “As a refugee himself, Sergey Brin knows better than most the value of living freely in a country that allows people to dream and -- through vision, creativity and hard work -- fulfill those dreams."

He and his family were able to build a new life in the United States and, as a result, he was able to create a new industry by changing the way we process and use information. His contributions literally have changed the world.”

For more information on HIAS, click here. Read the New York Times story here.

HIAS also runs a location service, helping to reconnect families through a database of missing people. Learn about it here.

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