VCIC to honor Jay Klebanoff with Humanitarian Award, and Amy K. Milligan with Jeffrey B. Spence Award for Interfaith Understanding

by | Feb 27, 2020 | What’s Happening

Jay Klebanoff

Wednesday, March 25, 5:45 pm, The Westin, Virginia Beach Town Center

The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities will honor Jay Klebanoff with the Humanitarian Award, and Dr. Amy K. Milligan with the Jeffrey B. Spence Award for Interfaith Understanding, at their 56th annual dinner later this month.

The Tidewater chapter of VCIC will recognize Klebanoff and Milligan for their outstanding commitment and body of professional and volunteer work dedicated to the promotion of respect, opportunity, and understanding for all racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

“We are very proud that Jay and Amy are being recognized by VCIC for their leadership and work to promote inclusivity in our community. They are both incredibly deserving of this honor,” says Betty Ann Levin, Executive Vice President/CEO, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

“Success through inclusion is definitely in my playbook,” says Klebanoff, referring to VCIC’s core philosophy. “The humanistic tenets of VCIC align with my commitment to United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and An Achievable Dream, not to mention the way we treat each other at Hercules.” Klebanoff is the CEO of Hercules Fence. “I am honored to be included with my fellow recipients, as well as the previous recipients within and outside the Jewish community.“

VCIC works with schools, businesses and communities to achieve success by addressing prejudices, in all forms.

“It means so much to be recognized for interfaith work, as this is truly one of my greatest life passions,” says Milligan. “I was raised by parents who encouraged me to ask questions and learn about others.

They exposed me to different religions, cultures, and languages, and taught me to see the similarities and celebrate and honor the differences. The passion I have for bridge-building work in my adult career is a direct outgrowth of the values my parents taught me.

“I also want to recognize that none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for all of the other community partners and change agents who build bridges with me. My goal is to show up every day and hold space for the voices and conversations that need to be included in the dialogue, recognizing that interfaith work is most effective and meaningful when it delves deeply into the intersections of race, gender, socio-economics, and sexuality,” says Milligan.

Amy K. Milligan

“Amy is an amazing, passionate leader in our community. She has made a tremendous impact through her leadership at ODU and is such an important member of and partner to our organized Jewish community,” says Levin.

VCIC is dedicated to leaders who use their time and talent to build an inclusive community.

“I had the pleasure of working with Jay at JFS and now at UJFT. His dedication to our community and humanitarian work knows no bounds. He leads by example and exemplifies our core value of taking care of one another in our community, and beyond, every day,” says Levin.

Klebanoff’s decades of volunteerism within and outside the Jewish community, include various roles with Big Brothers, Youth-At-Risk, Jewish Family Service (treasurer and later president), and United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Campaign chair, and later president. He is a former Virginia Zoo board member and currently serves as An Achievable Dream vice-chair.

Milligan is the Batten Endowed assistant professor of Jewish Studies and Women’s Studies and the director of the Institute of Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding. She is an ethnographer who is particularly interested in the folkloric manifestations of selfhood and identity on the body and uses these questions of bodylore to explore lived experiences of gender, sexuality, and religion. She also specializes in the study of small or marginalized Jewish communities.

“I derive my satisfaction from working with other socially conscious people with big hearts who work to make this world a better place,” says Klebanoff.

“VCIC strives to bring people of different ethnicities and religions together to make our community more accepting and cohesive. I enjoy building relationships based on mutual respect and, as a former athlete, I love building a successful team and encouraging people to be their best. Respect is one of our hallmarks at Hercules. Our leadership culture values everyone doing their best. Many aspects of business can be analogous to team sports. You have a drive to win, a strong team, and coaching with a high bar from a place of encouragement,” says Klebanoff.

Other 2020 Tidewater Humanitarian Award recipients, are Sharon S. Goodwyn, Toiya A. Sosa and James M. Wood, Jr. Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin Hampton Roads is recognized with a Distinguished Merit Award.

To attend the dinner or purchase a table for a business or organization, visit, or call 804-515-7950. To purchase a seat at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater/Tidewater Jewish Foundation table, contact Wynston Hammack or call 757-965-6124.