By staff and releases
The Jewish Family & Career Services has announced this year’s class for the MOSAIC Awards.
The annual awards dinner, which celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of newcomers to Louisville from other lands, while supporting the work of JFCS, will be held Thursday, May 26, at the Muhammad Ali Center.
This year’s honorees are Frank Schwartz (Hungary), Dr. Faten Abdullah (Iraq), Jose Neil Donis (Guatemala), Weiling Liu (China) and Dr. Juan Gustavo Polo (Cuba).
“I am excited and honored to be a part of this celebration of individuals who have overcome adversity to not only improve their own lives but those of the lives they touch,” David Finke, CEO of the JFCS, said in a prepared statement.
This will be Finke’s first MOSAIC dinner since becoming CEO, and the first in-person MOSAIC since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic.
Singling out Schwartz, a Jewish Louisvillian, in his remarks, Finke added, “It’s particularly exciting to me that our 2022 honorees include individuals who have previously utilized our services and individuals, like Frank Schwartz, who have lived out their Jewish identity with tikkun olam, giving back to the world to create a better community. We’re happy for the Adath Jeshurun community, [which] will be celebrating Frank’s award by watching from their annual meeting.”
Here is a look at this year’s honorees:
Frank Schwartz was born in Budapest and escaped from Hungary in 1956, seeking refuge with his family in Toronto, Canada. He moved to New York in 1960 and served in the Army from 1966 to 68. He graduated from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York in 1972 with degrees in political science and English literature.
Arriving in Louisville in 1974, Schwartz earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Louisville and led Project Warm, a non-profit providing weatherization education and services at no cost to low-income households. He became volunteer coordinator and then executive director in 2010. “I believe that my work with Project Warm gives me the opportunity to make a difference in the areas of housing and energy efficiency.”
Today, Schwartz works to help Cohousing Louisville, a national nonprofit supporting cohousing communities in changing the world. He volunteers throughout the community including Adath Jeshurun, JCRC and The Jewish Federation of Louisville.
Dr. Faten Abdullah completed her medical degree in Iraq, where she practiced reproductive health, family, maternal and child health and family planning for 16 years.
Dr. Abdullah came to the United States as a refugee and utilized community resources to continue her medical practice. She relied on support from JFCS and other agencies to help her through the recredentialing process and is currently practicing family medicine at Baptist Health in Lexington.
“I am heavily invested in serving the refugee communities, as I was a refugee myself,” Abdullah said. “I mainly assist arriving refugees reach their goals in becoming licensed physicians here in the U.S. I dedicate my time to creating a career plan with them, along with donating several resources that aid in the process of recertification.”
Jose Neil Donis is an entrepreneur, community activist and mentor who has made a meaningful impact in Louisville through his leadership at Al Dia en America, the first Spanish language newspaper in the city.
Born in Guatemala City, Donis came to Louisville in 2004. Seeing a need for media to serve the rapidly growing Spanish-speaking community, he developed Al Dia, which, in its first year, grew from a 24- to 40-page biweekly publication, creating a platform for companies and organizations to reach the Hispanic market.
Donis volunteers in non-profit organizations, including the Hispanic Latino Coalition, Colectivo LatinX, Centro Latino (Shelby), Norton Hospital Children’s Foundation, Louisville Public Media, Community Foundation of Louisville and Foundation for the Arts.
Weiling Liu is a professor and head of the Office of Libraries Technology (OLT) at the University of Louisville, which manages systems and provides technical support for UofL libraries. Arriving in Louisville in 1998, Liu has spent 20-plus years making significant contributions to UofL, overseeing the migration of the library catalog system and implementing a robot retrieval system.
Liu is a life member of the Chinese American Librarians Association. She also serves on the board of Association of Chinese Americans in Kentuckiana, through which she led two fundraising events to support the Louisville community and five hospitals in Wuhan, China, in their fight against COVID.
Liu also leads an 11-member dancing group that has been learning, practicing and performing Chinese dances since 2006. The group performed at the Derby Opening Night in Louisville in 2019.
Dr. Juan Polo was one of the first Cuban American physicians in Louisville to obtain his medical credentials to practice medicine in the United States, serving the community since 1997.
An internal medicine specialist with Norton Healthcare, he received his medical degree from Superior Institute of Medical Sciences of Santiago de Cuba, then practiced as an OBGYN in Cuba and the Republic of Burundi.
Polo engages the Latinx community around health education and prevention in Norton Healthcare’s La Clinica, a practice dedicated to serving the Latinx community here.
When he came to the United States, Polo utilized JFCS recredentialing services. Passionate about removing language barriers for Spanish-speaking patients in the medical sphere, he builds meaningful and culturally sensitive relationships.
Want to go?
The MOSAIC Awards Dinner will be held May 26, at the Muhammad Ali Center. Cocktails will be served at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test will be required. For tickets, go to bit.ly/3Ka9Ol0. Virtual tickets are available to watch the program at home.