The Birthright Israel Foundation will be the recipient of the largest grant ever provided by the Jim Joseph Foundation. The $17.5 million gift, to be distributed over the next five years, will provide $5 million in trip support, and an additional $12.5 million as a matching grant for building community initiatives among young adults after the trip.
The program’s success has been remarkable, and that success has generated unprecedented demand from young Jewish adults to travel to Israel. Over 160,000 young Jews worldwide—110,000 of them from the North America—have participated in the Taglit-Birthright Israel trips since the program’s inception in 2000.
“It is our goal, and our hope, to allow every qualified young person who applies to have the chance to visit Israel,” says Shimshon Shoshani, CEO of Taglit-Birthright Israel. “The support of the Jim Joseph Foundation comes at a critical time as applications continue to outpace available spots this summer by a ratio of two-to-one.”
Birthright Israel’s thinking is bold and the plan the Foundation co-created with them is ambitious; a draft of which you can read here.
Along with the gift to Hillel’s Campus Entrepreneurs Initiative, the Foundation has a potential for engaging up to 100,000 young Jewish adults for whom Judaism is currently only tangentially related to their identities.
According to Chip Edelsberg, Executive Director of the Jim Joseph Foundation,
“The complementary nature of the two initiatives position the Jewish world to be responsive to realities of the “twenty-something” Jew in ways neither commonly available nor readily accessible now.
Working together, Birthright Israel, Hillel, and JJF postulate that we have designed a scalable model for invigorating the lives of young adults, ages 18-30, with Jewish content, values, and meaning.”