Michael (“Mike”) and Joan Korenblit, founders of the Respect Diversity Foundation, serve as president and executive director.
Both have dedicated their lives to this work, running the Foundation out of their home and striving daily to ensure that donors’ investments are managed to ensure optimal cost-effectiveness (“doing well by dealing prudently”).
Under their conscientious direction, administrative costs are minimized, and 75% of RDF’s budget is directly dedicated to evidence-based programming, with only a small percentage of the remaining 25% invested in fundraising.
Michael is a bestselling author (Until We Meet Again), speaker and former public-school educator, as well as the executive producer of educational documentaries and an award-winning public affairs series on CSPAN. He provides engaged, “hands-on” leadership for the organization, even as he shares the lessons of the Holocaust and their relevance today. A compelling presenter whose gifts and talents could easily have propelled him to a successful private career in speaking, he has instead devoted his energies to founding and leading RDF and taking the story of his parents (Majir and Manya Korenblit, Holocaust survivors) to audiences most likely to effect change in their communities and the world – especially schools. Through his presentation, the story becomes a fulcrum for highly-salient issues, such as bullying (student or workplace), inter-faith understanding, civic engagement, social activism, social justice, and others. Since 2000, hundreds of schools, faith and community groups, agencies, businesses, and corporations throughout Oklahoma and the nation have invited him to give talks and lead workshops – reporting meaningful transformations in their organizational cultures after his presentations.
Joan is an author of several cookbooks and teachers’ guides. She is a poet and teaching artist/workshop leader, guiding scores of students to write poetry published in magazines, newspapers, and books. For the past thirteen years, Joan has been RDF’s “management guru.” She manages and administrates all of RDF’s programs, projects and events. Over the past twelve years (Since RDF was founded, Joan has nurtured close, working relationships with educators, schools and leaders throughout Oklahoma. Not only have her efforts deeply impacted the lives of Oklahoma students and educators, her work has brought national attention to our state’s growing appreciation of the values of tolerance and respect for all, through the publicity she has garnered for RDF outreaches (including our annual Arts Competition & Exhibition). A compelling speaker and workshop leader in her own right, Joan has dedicated herself to developing the arts-integration aspect of RDF’s work, believing that it is crucial to solidifying and amplifying the transformations resulting from the efforts of all of RDF’s speakers and artists.
Both Mike and Joan serve as role models of nonprofit activism, integrity, advocacy, and generosity.
As such, they have won numerous awards and have become two of Oklahoma City’s most admired citizens.
Contact us to invite Mike or Joan to speak or create programming for your school or organization.
Respect Diversity Early Childhood Program director
Marcy Price is the new Respect Diversity Early Childhood Program Director. Her main focus is the Different and the Same program which is a project of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice. She adds a collaborative art integration twist with students in the greater OKC area.
As program director of the Jewish Federation, Marcy Price touched the lives of hundreds of Oklahomans providing gateways to learning and involvement in the Jewish and greater community. “The gateways are open to all who choose to take the first step, whether it is to join a book group, a cooking class, a Jewish University session, take on a new leadership role, deliver matzah ball soup to the sick, travel to Israel, or be a camper or counselor at Camp Chaverim,” she said.
In her role as director, Price partnered with a local donor to establish the PJ Library Program in Oklahoma City that provides free, high quality Jewish children’s books and related family programming to children from 6 months – eight years. During Oklahoma’s Centennial year, 2007, she initiated the Oklahoma Jewish History Project to document stories of longtime Jewish Oklahomans and to collect photographs, archival documents and photographs of our oldest generation.
Camp Chaverim is one of my most satisfying professional accomplishments as I have nurtured it through the years.” This summer marked our 26th summer of fun and friendship – extending goodwill to over 180 children and teens in the greater metro area. “Campers and staff learn about Tikkun Olam – the obligation to repair the world – through hands-on experiences and community service projects,” she said.
“Through my travels to different parts of world, I’ve experienced firsthand many different cultures and world-views,” she said. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to fulfilling the commandment that it is our duty to make the world a better place through both our words and deeds.” In more camper-friendly terms, Marcy imparted her life lessons from Camp Chaverim…”start every day with a smile and a song, give your best effort and play fair, find your passion and pursue it!”
“Marcy lives her faith through her professional life as program director for the Jewish Federation, but also as a person,” said Marnie Taylor, CEO of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits. “She is dedicated to nurturing others, and it shows in all she does.”
This summer, Marcy announced her retirement, and the Jewish Federation and Camp Chaverim honored her at a special tribute dinner filled with community and camp friends and colleagues. Edie Roodman, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation presented Marcy with beautiful Tree of Life candle sticks and established a new Educational Award in her honor for 15 years of “shining the light of Jewish education in OKC.”
Marcy is now the Early Childhood Program Director for the Respect Diversity Foundation. She currently serves on Leadership Oklahoma Fall Forum committee, the Library Trust Foundation and Literary Voices committee, tutors students in reading, and is actively involved with the OKC Arts Festival.