Celebrating the Mosaic of Diversity

mosaicOn May 21 a group of professionals in Louisville will be honored at the tenth annual MOSAIC Awards sponsored by the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence and benefitting Jewish Family and Career Services. Although at first glance the collection of honorees may seem to have little in common, they all share the two traits necessary to be a MOSAIC honoree: they are all international Americans, and they all have made significant contributions to their profession and community.

Beverly Bromley, Director of Development and Marketing for Jewish Family and Career Services had a hand in the titling and formulation of the event 10 years ago. JFCS is a human services organization that works to help acclimate people who are new to Louisville or the country. She recalls that her Executive Director at the time was looking to hold a major fundraiser to benefit JFCS but hadn’t quite found the right event in line with the work of the organization and its mission statement. “Because we deal with so many human service issues that are generally not fun, having a charity ball just didn’t feel comfortable to me,” Bromley remembers.

To create the perfect event, she pulled together a team of volunteers with event planning experience who were willing to be creative and consider the mission of the company in the creation of the event. After a few different ideas, “it morphed into this event where we recognize immigrants and refugees who have made a significant contribution in their profession and have given back to our community,” Bromley states proudly. Thus, the MOSAIC – or Multicultural Opportunities for Success and Achievement In our Community – Awards were born.

This year’s event is expected to draw over 500 people to the downtown Marriott on May 21. The evening will begin with a 5:00 p.m. cocktail reception, which will also feature a showcase of business that have been trained and financially aided by the JFCS Navigate Enterprise Center. “Many new businesses only have a small budget for marketing,” asserts Dan Heffernam, Navigate Director. “By introducing our businesses to the people attending the MOSAIC Awards, we hope to generate interest in the products and services they provide and create new clients for them.”

Following the reception, a sit-down dinner will commence and then segue into welcome remarks by honorary event chairs Jerry and Madeline Abramson. “We hope that their participation during this anniversary celebration will generate a whole new level of interest for the event,” muses Dr. Diane Tobin, a previous honoree and this year’s co-chair. Once all opening remarks have been made, the awards themselves will be presented to this year’s five honorees.

Each honoree has without question made a tremendous impact in his or her profession. For example, John Rosenberg, who is originally from Germany, has a story that most would only find in history books. He survived Nazi persecution and internment before coming to the United States and working under Attorney General Robert Kennedy as a trial attorney in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. On this team, he helped successfully prosecute three members of the Ku Klux Klan and accordingly had a hand in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Rosenberg then became the Director of AppalReD in eastern Kentucky, where he helped underprivileged clients acquire basic needs and protect themselves from exploitation. “So many people use the term good-doer, but this is a lot bigger than good-doer, ”Bromley declares. “He has a commitment within his soul that compels him to help these people and to do the right thing. Civil Rights is his banner, and everything he’s done to progress that issue is just astounding.”

Next week, Rosenberg will be in the powerful company of Dr. George Digenis, Luis David Fuentes, Lalit Sarin and Van Tran to accept a MOSAIC Award. Although all parties are looking forward to the event itself, Bromley is sure to always keep in mind the reason the event exists. “It puts a positive spotlight on international Americans that are here in our community, and it makes the community more aware of who these people are and what types of work they’re doing,” she contends. The event is, at its truest sense, is a celebration of diversity and those who have helped enrich the community, and with more than 20,000 international Americans living in Louisville, it is an event that positively represents such an important sector of the population. VT

By REMY SISK, Contributing Writer