The Ruderman Family Foundation partnered with an inclusive fashion brand that designed the Israeli team’s official uniform for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which are taking place from August 24-September 5.
Israeli Paralympic uniform designers Shay Senior, 27, who was injured during his service in the Israel Defense Forces, and Netanel Yehuda Halevi, 29, who was born with muscular dystrophy and uses a motorized wheelchair, are the founders of Palta — a social venture that provides people with disabilities with fashion industry opportunities in design, development, and modeling tasks. A past recipient of a grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation, Palta collaborates with brands and organizations in the fields of education, technology, and fashion to broaden the circle of impact and reduce gaps in society.
The Ruderman Family Foundation supported Palta and its entrepreneurs to empower the venture to drive progress toward creating a more inclusive fashion industry — and now, Palta is accomplishing that objective through the vehicle of sports.
“Investing in Palta’s crucial work and mission reflects our understanding that effecting prosocial change through sports, including by promoting a more inclusive landscape for athletes with disabilities, can make a tremendous public impact not only in the sports world but in society-at-large,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “We are gratified that Shay and Netanel, empowered by their experiences through the Foundation and Link20, have used their unique inclusive fashion brand to make a highly visible and prosocial impact at the Paralympic Games.”
The Foundation has also strived to effect change through sports by partnering with Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox to create public service announcements on mental health. In another collaboration with the Red Sox, the annual IMPACT Awards, the Foundation distributes grants to non-profits across the six U.S. states in New England that raise awareness on the issue of mental health and work to improve mental health outcomes for young adults.
Palta founders Senior and Halevi are also members of the Link20 global social movement. Established in Israel by the Ruderman Family Foundation, Link20 later expanded to Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. The movement’s young activists and advocates — with and without disabilities — participate in a platform for social activism in the digital space by creating and promoting awareness campaigns; initiating and attending leadership and network events; and taking active roles in designing local, national, and global programs. Link20 advocacy has been part of successful campaigns to reverse an American Airlines policy that placed a weight limit on wheelchairs, change the name of Major League Baseball’s “Disabled List” to the “Injured List,” and secure equal medal payouts for Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
The Paralympic outfit designed by Palta at the request of the Israeli Paralympic Committee includes clothes and accessories that are based on the special needs of Israel’s vigorous, dedicated, and spectacular representative athletes with disabilities. Israel’s Paralympic team in Tokyo, ranked 13th in the world, consists of 33 athletes.