The Natan Fund, a giving circle based in New York City supporting Jewish and Israeli social innovation, today announced $877,500 in grants to 51 Jewish and Israeli social entrepreneurs, nonprofit startups and post-startups, social businesses, and networks of grassroots initiatives.
Natan’s grant recipients are creating new access points to Jewish life for people around the world, strengthening the bonds of Jewish peoplehood across geographic borders, connecting people to Israel in creative ways, combating antisemitism, and exploring a variety of approaches to economic development and urban renewal in Israel.
The 2016-2017 grants mark the organization’s 13th annual round of grantmaking, through which Natan members have allocated over $11.6 million in grants to more than 200 initiatives worldwide.
In this grant cycle, 56 of Natan’s 80+ members and supporters reviewed more than 300 proposals across 8 grant committees, ultimately making grants to initiatives across the US and in Israel, Canada, Austria, Poland, Sweden, and the UK. 40% of the grant recipients are new to Natan this year.
“One of the most interesting things we’re seeing is the way that many young organizations, now past the ‘startup’ phase, are developing approaches to making systemic change in their respective fields,” said Felicia Herman, Natan’s Executive Director. “They’re thinking beyond the borders of their own organizations and programs, creating mechanisms for collaboration and network-building, and they’re empowering alumni and stakeholders to become agents for change in their own right.”
David Steinhardt, chair of Natan’s Board of Trustees, added: “we are also excited about the many partnerships that enable Natan to leverage the resources of other organizations, bringing additional financial resources, expertise, and on-the-ground networks to our grantmaking. The grants we make to ROI Community members, the grantmaking partnerships with the Shahaf Foundation and Ruach Hadasha, and the matching funds we receive from Genesis Philanthropy Group for our RSJ grants all help to improve our decision-making and expand our impact.”
Notable new Natan grants and partnerships include:
- Campaign Against Antisemitism, a volunteer-led grassroots organization in the UK, which is empowering individuals to work together to expose and counter antisemitism through education and zero-tolerance enforcement of the law;
- Footsteps, which has launched a microgrant program to support arts and culture, community-building and advocacy initiatives developed by Footsteppers, who are all formerly ultra-Orthodox Jews;
- an expanded grant to Israel Story, the popular radio podcast dedicated to telling the story of a different, diverse and nuanced Israel;
- Mayyim Hayyim, a community mikvah in Newton, MA, which is developing Rising Tide, a new international network of community mikvaot to provide tools, resources, training, and education to strengthen and expand the field;
- Mishpucha Camping, which offers culturally authentic experiences for Russian-Speaking American Jews that foster community building, identity exploration, and Jewish education;
- The Museum of Jewish Montreal, which offers a new model for 21st-century Jewish museums, educating the public about the Montreal Jewish community’s diverse and vibrant past through creative public programs and groundbreaking online and mobile engagement tools;
- Noa Tanua, a nonprofit cooperative operating bus lines in Tel Aviv on Shabbat, creating affordable ways to get to work and leisure when public transportation is not available;
- a new partnership with Ruach Hadasha (New Spirit), an engine of revitalization in Jerusalem, to provide small grants to social entrepreneurs and grassroots initiatives that are strengthening Jerusalem as a diverse social, cultural, and economic center;
- Sacred Spaces, a new organization that will help Jewish institutions to develop robust policies to prevent institutional sexual abuse and properly handle it when it occurs;
- Speak Memory Project, an initiative that preserves the stories of Russian-Speaking Jewish Holocaust survivors through dynamic photography and storytelling.
A list of all of the 2016-7 grantees can be found here.
Note about the 2017-8 Grants:
Natan is restructuring its grant committees, focus areas and application process for the 2017-8 grant year. Natan will begin accepting Letters of Inquiry for the Economic Development in Israel grants today through its website, and will open the Letter of Inquiry process for other grant committees in October.