Project Understanding for Emerging Leaders

Now, more than ever, we must learn from each other's experiences and perspectives. 

The Marvin C. Goldstein Black/Jewish Project Understanding Retreat is a signature achievement of AJC's Atlanta Black/Jewish Coalition. The retreat ensures that relationships between Black and/or Jewish thought leaders continue to expand into Atlanta’s next generation.

Black and/or Jewish professionals between the ages of 25-39 who live in Metro Atlanta are eligible to apply. Looking for Project Understanding Gen X (ages 40-55)? Click here.

Applications for the 2022 Project Understanding Retreat are now closed. Information about the Spring 2024 Project Understanding retreat will be released in Fall 2023. Sign up below to receive a notification when the application is released.


History of Project Understanding

Atlanta's Black and Jewish communities have shared a unique relationship for many years, but this relationship has changed and evolved over time, as each community's challenges have become more complex. Today, the historic bond between Blacks and Jews is not always understood. Today's young people did not personally witness or participate in the struggles of the Civil Rights era. The stories of Black/Jewish cooperation are easily forgotten, particularly as there are few efforts to reinvigorate the relationship between the communities. Young leaders who belong to either or both communities are steeped in their own issues and priorities. They may not know or understand the natural alliances that have long drawn Black and Jewish people together in pursuit of social justice. 

Project Understanding was born from the combined experiences of the Atlanta Black/Jewish Coalition and the strong desire on the part of ACCESS, the young adult division of American Jewish Committee, to create an opportunity for young Black and/or Jewish adults to share experiences and develop meaningful relationships. 

Beginning in 1989 and held every other year, Project Understanding has provided a unique opportunity for the young leadership of our communities. It is a forum where people of influence can share and learn from each other, and tap into a network that has been critical to Atlanta's relative success in negotiating race relations for the last many decades.

To stay updated on AJC's Atlanta Black/Jewish Coalition's work, please sign up for our emails

What to Expect During the Retreat 

During this 24-hour retreat, participants are encouraged to interact honestly and forthrightly about issues that affect each of their respective communities as well as those that affect both. The program includes exercises designed to encourage open exchange among participants. Participants quickly move past political correctness to engage in real conversation about issues that are often difficult to address. In addition, Project Understanding provides an environment for friendships to flourish.

Participation in the program is selective, and most Project Understanding alumni have continued to be leaders in various facets of the Atlanta community. Alumni include corporate C.E.Os, non-profit leaders, and prominent political figures, including the former Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed, and Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. 

Marvin C. Goldstein Project Understanding for Emerging Leaders Co-Chairs

Taylor Davis

Taylor Davis is a partner at Clyde & Co, where she practices commercial litigation. She is an alum of Vanderbilt University and Emory University School of Law and a member of Phi Beta Kappa Society, Mortar Board, Alpha Omicron Pi Fraternity, and The Order of Barristers. She is also a proud member of Project Understanding's class of 2013, former Steering Committee member and Vice Chair of ACCESS Atlanta, former Steering Committee member of 18 Doors, and current member of Ahavath Achim Synagogue's Interfaith Inclusion Committee. Taylor enjoys spending free time volunteering with JF&CS's One Good Deed program.

Russell Hopson

Russell Hopson is an active community leader, mentor, and advocate. Raised with a love for service and scholarship, Russell attended Florida A&M University where he founded a mentoring program. He also served as an early childhood development instructor, taught Math and Science to Upward Bound students and was Community Service Chair for his fraternity. Russell organized voter registration drives and student protests challenging questionable polling practices of Florida elections. Russell works for Amedisys Home Health and serves on his company’s National DEI Council. He also serves on the Morehouse School of Medicine Prevention Research Center – Community Coalition Board, which works to identify the underlying causes of health inequities in underserved communities. Russell is an alumni of the 2017 Project Understanding retreat.

Steering Committee

Lily Brent
Jonathan Grunberg
Sarah Fields
Jeff Fisher
Allen Lee
DeMark Liggins
Lauren Linder
Ericka McCracken
Charisse Price
Gabby Spatt
Jonathan Tescher
Chris Walker
Missy Waller
Jonathan Wortham

More regional news

Back to Top