Now in its eighth year, the $100,000 prize recognizes a humanitarian activist under the age of 50 whose work has contributed significantly to the betterment of the world. Ellen Bronfman Hauptman and Stephen Bronfman, along with their spouses, established the prize in their father's honor to bring public recognition to young, dynamic individuals whose Jewish values infuse their humanitarian accomplishments and provide inspiration to next generations.
Author of the New York Times bestseller The Heart and the Fist, Greitens was born and raised in Missouri. After graduating from Duke University and the University of Oxford, where he earned a master's degree in development studies and a Ph.D. in politics, Greitens served as a humanitarian volunteer in Rwanda and Bosnia and later as a U.S. Navy SEAL in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and southeast Africa. Inspired by his experiences overseas, Greitens created The Mission Continues in 2007 to re-integrate post-9/11 veterans into civilian life and challenge them to become leaders within their own communities.
Through six-month community service fellowships, Mission Continues fellows work at nonprofits that share their interests and passions, leading projects that involve hundreds of community volunteers. As a result of the organization's efforts, more than 360 veterans have led nearly 600 services projects that have engaged over 15,000 volunteers. A study conducted by Washington University in St. Louis found that 86 percent of Mission Continues fellows said the experience helped them become leaders in their communities, find civilian employment, build support networks, and teach others the value of community service.
"The Charles Bronfman Prize goes each year to an individual whose Jewish values influence his or her ability to make a global impact," said Charles Bronfman. "To me, the highest form of giving is to provide people with the tools to improve themselves, and hence, the world about them. This is precisely what Eric has done with The Mission Continues. He has given wounded war veterans a challenge to continue to serve the country through his or her community."