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Thursday, June 6, 2024
7:00-9:00 PM


We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the more than 275 amazing people who came together to celebrate our 20th anniversary at the 2024 Dare to Understand Awards ceremony. What a meaningful way to reflect and honor those who helped us reach this incredible milestone! We are also grateful to the City of Philadelphia for the proclamation making June 6, 2024, Interfaith Philadelphia Day in the city! 

We are proud to have raised over $90,000 for the future of interfaith work in our region, and $175,000 for our new Innovation Fund. Sincere gratitude to our honorees Imam Dr. Quaiser D. Abdullah, The Reverend Jesse B. Garner, Marjorie N. Scharf, The Very Reverend Judith A. Sullivan, and the Walking the Walk Alumni & Partners who have been central to living our vision, and whose dreams will shape the future of interfaith work.


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Imam Dr. Quaiser D. Abdullah is an accomplished academic, business, community and religious leader. He serves as the Board Chair for Interfaith Philadelphia (2021-2024), and is an Assistant Professor at Temple University's Klein College of Media and Communication. He is Co-President of the Association for Conflict Resolution and served under former Mayor Kenney as Co-Chair for the Mayor's Commission on Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs. Additionally, he is the President of Statera Coaching and Leadership Consulting, LLC, a private company specializing in conflict resolution, leadership development, and workforce training. Quaiser is an Imam at Masjid Quba.

Click here to read Imam Dr. Quaiser's full bio

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The Reverend Jesse B. Garner has dedicated his life and career to his faith and serving others. The Rev. Garner led churches in Tennessee and Alabama before moving in 2001 to First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, where he served as pastor until his retirement in 2018. He joined the Board of Interfaith Philadelphia in 2009, and was Board Chair from 2018 to 2021. He has also served on the Board of the Christian Association at the University of Pennsylvania and Penn’s Village.

Click here to read Rev. Garner's full bio

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Marjorie N. Scharf has dedicated her four-decade career to fostering community health and inter-group understanding. Marjorie became the City's first Public Health Nutritionist, developing widely adopted health education materials for pregnant mothers in English and Spanish. She also promoted healthy eating in schools through the Food Trust. Passionate about interfaith understanding, she co-founded and directed the Walking the Walk Youth Initiative at Interfaith Philadelphia. Throughout her journey, she has remained committed to empowering others to live self-reliant, fulfilled lives and has built connections with people from diverse backgrounds in Philadelphia.

Click here to read Marjorie's full bio

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The Very Rev. Judith A. Sullivan is the retired Dean of the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral where she served for 13 years. While with the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, she was a principal author of a strategic plan for dismantling racism within the Diocese. She is a former Chair of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission and a member of the Diocesan Transition Task Force. She has also been an Adjunct Faculty member at the United Lutheran Seminary and served on the faculty of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation's Preaching Excellence Program for students in Episcopal seminaries. Dean Sullivan was the Board Chair of Interfaith Philadelphia from 2014 to 2018. Currently, she is the Vice-President of the Board of Directors for Episcopal Community Services and is a trustee of the United Lutheran Seminary.

Click here to read Dean Sullivan's full bio

About the Dare to Understand Award

Interfaith Philadelphia’s Dare to Understand® Award honors individuals, communities, and businesses of distinction, that have championed the work of interfaith engagement and understanding across lines of difference. Awardees lead their communities by example, demonstrating humility, curiosity, and respect, qualities imperative in interfaith work.

View full list of previous honorees

For questions about sponsorship or this event, please contact Sara Zebovitz at: or (215) 222-1012 x5


Thank you to our Sponsors!


The Gallagher Family

Bruce and Nancy Winn



Stanley Barg
John Chou and Teresa Wallace


William and Debbie Becker
Cynthia Stewart


Rev. Richard Fernandez and Eloise Chevrier
Annie Paulsen and Al Garner
Charles Goochee

Jon and Rabbi Carol Harris-Shapiro
Abby Stamelman Hocky and Eric Hocky
Sharon Parker
Carrie Gish and Marc Rockford
Steven and Tamra Zebovitz




Len and Ellan Bernstein


Rev. Dr. Margaret Somerville
KC and Jeff Warren
Julie Dill Williams

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Dr. Tiffenia Archie
Richard and Eileen Bazelon
Ed Beckett

Dr. Christina Clay
David Cohen

Rabbi David Straus and Lynne Breslau
Jason and Angela Duckworth
Beth and John Dugan
Dr. Gity and Bijan Etemad
Vance and John Fernandez
Rev. Jesse and Allen Garner
Rev. Dr. Charmaine Green
Arlene Lauf, Ph.D. and Marc Goldstein, M.D. 
Ken Kolodziej and Anne Hagele
Jeff and Betsy Hanna 
Randi Siegel Harris and John Harris
Jeremy Henry and Bronwen Henry
Rabbi Richard and Barbara Hirsh
David Hocky
The Huron Foundation
Christine Kantor
Marjorie Scharf and Don Kligerman
Seth Kreimer and Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer
Krista Dedrick Lai and Terry Lai 
Gary and Lynn Laurino
Deborah Leavy
Rabbi Jill Maderer
William and Linda Madway

Andrea and Jay Malamut
Dr. Kelly and Matthew McClure
Barbra Berley-Mellits and Bart Mellits  
Colleen Guiney Murray and Gerard Murray


Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Jeff Pasek
Thomas Ramsey

Ashley Rivera
Dr. Moji Saberin
Ejaz Sabir
Jonathan Shahar
Elizabeth Weiler and James Shanahan
Sally and Lawrence Silverman
Dick and Amanda Smoot

The Very Reverend Judith A. Sullivan

The Presbytery of Philadelphia
Rev. Betty White
David and Betsy Wice
Rev. Courtenay and Dr. Tom Willcox


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Welcome In

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Venture Out

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Be Curious

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