British ORTs breakfast of champions supports FSU schools


18 March 2010 British ORTs breakfast of champions supports FSU schools The world can look forward to an exceptional Olympic Games in London, one of the chief organisers of the 2012 event told the British ORT Business Breakfast this week. The Deputy Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), Sir Keith Mills, told the audience of more than 200 people that the Games would provide a welcome boost to the nations morale in the wake of the economic crisis. Sir Keith Mills flashes his ORT loyalty card. You dont know whats coming, Sir Keith said. It really will be exceptional. At a time when the country needs a shot in the arm, not only are we pumping billions into the economy but in 2012 we will provide the emotional help needed to bring the country out of the recession You really must be part of it. It will be very special and a great fillip for the country just when we need it. The upbeat address by the multi-millionaire creator of the Air Miles and Nectar loyalty card programmes made a cheery change from, as event host Travelex Chairman Lloyd Dorfman put it, the prophets of doom and gloom who have spoken at the past two years breakfasts. There was little talk of the tough times as Sir Keith shone a light on the difference being made to London as a result of being chosen to host the Olympics and Paralympics. The Olympic Park is quite spectacular, he told the event, which raised some 40,000 for this years British ORT headline appeal the 17 ORT schools in the Former Soviet Union. The redevelopment of the 500-acre site, which satellite photos showed as a dark patch amid Londons lights, would result in the creation of a post-Games community of 30,000 people. Hundreds of millions of pounds were being invested in non-Games related infrastructure including new sewerage, the replacing of ugly electricity pylons, new railway stations, roads, schools, and health centres. Sir Keith a self-described challenge junkie was looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead in the 864 days remaining until the opening of the biggest logistical exercise outside of a world war. Three of the biggest challenges were due to start next week: the announcement of ticketing plans, the search for 75,000 volunteers (from an expected 2 million applicants) and the launch of the official mascot. British ORT Chairman Simon Alberga thanked Sir Keith for his fascinating and inspiring address and added to the upbeat tone of the morning by presenting him with an ORT loyalty card which can be presented for points at any one of our 63 countries worldwide. Mr Alberga went on to explain the focus of British ORTs fundraising for this year. The future of Judaism is at grave risk in the Former Soviet Union given the level of assimilation and out-marriage, he said. Our network of schools and training centres acts as a vital link for the Jewish community in this region, providing not only excellent skills-based education but also a strong Jewish Studies curriculum. Through helping to recapture the Jewish essence of communities in the Former Soviet Union, ORT is not only helping individual students out of poverty but also the Jewish People as a whole to ensure its growth and continuity in this vital region. British ORTs Director of Fundraising, Dr Noga Zivan, said later that the organisation had met last years $500,000 target for the new rocket-proof science and technology centre at Shaar HaNegev High School near Gaza. This year, the target had been set at 500,000. We have upped the ante because we think its achievable but we always aim to exceed our targets, Dr Zivan said. In addition to the headline campaign, British ORT would continue to raise money for Shaar HaNegev and other projects. Our headline campaign this year shows that we see Jewish education in the Former Soviet Union as a priority and the funding crisis which has hit ORT schools there as a result of the collapse of the Heftsiba system has heightened that, she said. The future of the ORT schools continues to hang in the balance because of a dramatic cut in the level of funding for Jewish education through the Heftsiba system, which traditionally has channeled funds from Israeli government departments, the Jewish Agency for Israel and others. World ORT Director General and CEO Robert Singer said this years British ORT Business Breakfast had continued the success of previous years. Sir Keith Mills was an excellent choice for speaker, Mr Singer said. As the architect of Londons brilliant campaign to secure hosting rights for the 2012 Olympics, as one of Britains most successful entrepreneurs, and as a fiercely competitive sportsman he embodies so much of the spirit of what ORT does: to rise to the challenge of educating and training the underprivileged so that they can compete successfully in todays fast-changing labour market and that they do so with a sense of decency and fair play.