The Natan Fund, a philanthropic foundation that supports cutting-edge Jewish and Israeli nonprofits, will announce tonight the launch of the Natan Book Award, a groundbreaking new award to support the writing, marketing and publicity of a new nonfiction book on Jewish themes. David Brooks, political and cultural commentator for The New York Times, PBS NewsHour and National Public Radio, and a member of Natan, will announce the opening of the Award application process at tonight’s “Investing in Change” event celebrating Natan’s 10th anniversary, where Brooks will be moderating a conversation between prominent investors Stanley Druckenmiller (Duquesne Family Office) and Natan board members David Einhorn (Greenlight Capital) and Boaz Weinstein (Saba Capital).
The Natan Book Award Committee will be chaired by journalists Jeffrey Goldberg (national correspondent for The Atlantic and author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror) and Franklin Foer (editor-at-large for The New Republic and author of the forthcoming Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame). Brooks, Goldberg, and Foer are all members of Natan, a giving collaborative whose members determine the foundation’s strategic agenda and make all of its grant decisions collectively.
“The Natan Book Award provides Natan with a vehicle for bringing its support for creative and meaningful new initiatives into the intellectual arena,” says Brooks. “In ten years of grantmaking, Natan has helped to galvanize innovation across the Jewish and Israeli social sectors. The Book Award will leverage that experience on behalf of a gifted author with groundbreaking ideas.”
The Book Award offers up to $50,000 in two stages: the first provides up to $15,000 to an individual author to support the writing process; and the second provides up to the total of the remaining funds to craft a customized digital and in-person marketing and publicity strategy for the book at the time of its publication. The second stage will leverage Natan’s networks across the Jewish, nonprofit and philanthropic communities.
“We want to be able to support a writer as he or she is creating an important new work,” explains Goldberg, “but we also want to make sure that that work attracts real attention and gets into the hands of people who might not be the traditional audiences for Jewish books. Our ultimate goal is to catalyze new conversations about the past, present and future of the Jewish people.”
Committee member Simon Lipskar, President of Writers House, one of the largest literary agencies in the world, is one of the architects of the publishing and marketing element of the Award. “There’s so much good work out there, but to break through the noise these days you need to put a lot of creative, dedicated, and flexible muscle behind getting the book in people’s hands. The Natan Book Award will take a groundbreaking approach to what a book award should be in the 21st century, devoting resources to finding audiences for extraordinary authors rather than simply giving already-discovered and lauded books a victory lap.”
The other members of the Book Award committee, all of whom are Natan Fund members, are Matthew Hiltzik, President and CEO of Hiltzik Strategies, a strategic communications and consulting firm; Tali Rosenblatt-Cohen, a freelance writer and former literary agent; and Tali Farhadian Weinstein, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Submissions for the inaugural Natan Book Award are due December 3, 2012. Eligibility rules and application procedures can be found at natan.org/html/bookaward.html
About: The Natan Fund inspires young philanthropists to actively engage in Jewish giving by funding innovative projects that are shaping the Jewish future. Natan believes that educated, engaged, and entrepreneurial philanthropy can transform both givers and nonprofit organizations.
In its first decade, Natan has given $7.8 million to over 125 emerging nonprofits and social entrepreneurs around the world. The Natan board underwrites Natan’s operating expenses, so 100% of all contributions goes towards the nonprofit organizations that Natan supports with its grants.