Cultural Leadership is modeled after a similar program in Washington, D.C., Operation Understanding DC (founded by Karen Kalish in 1993), which was inspired by a similar program, Operation Understanding, begun in Philadelphia in 1985 by former Congressman William H. Gray III and George Ross, former President of the American Jewish Committee in Philadelphia. Both programs were designed to rekindle the historical alliance between Jews and African Americans. (Click here to learn more.) Historically, these two groups have worked side by side to fight for social justice. Cultural Leadership expanded on this mission.