The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) announced it has awarded a total of $1 million in grants to five Israel-based organizations whose programs support and encourage Jewish identity, Israel’s economic development and self-sufficiency. Programs receiving funding range from employment internships for university students in Jerusalem; business training and micro-loan assistance for women in Jaffa, Lod and Ramle; classes in business entrepreneurship and Jewish identity in the Negev; to training for Israeli Defense Force combat officers to engage soldiers in explorations of their Jewish identity.
Since 2006, The Foundation has awarded more than $4 million to organizations that address key issues facing Israel through grants of up to $250,000 over a three-year period. Israel Grants are awarded to programs that can have a dramatic impact on a large number of people or geographic regions, and hold the potential for establishing a model that can be replicated elsewhere.
- A $250,000 three-year gift to Ayalim Association to teach business entrepreneurship and Beit Midrash workshops to help Jewish students embrace their Jewish identity, launch business ventures and gain employment in the Negev. Ayalim Association, founded in 2002, operates 11 entrepreneur villages that house some 600 students and provides them with incentives to settle in these villages.
- A three-year, $195,000 grant to provide more than 2,000 university students with practical work experience goes to New Spirit (Ruach Hadasha). The program aims to help students more easily enter the job market and find employment in Jerusalem. New Spirit was founded in 2003 to increase students’ connection to Jerusalem, to encourage the young adult population to live and work there and to keep the city vibrant and prosperous. The program places students into one of several professional tracks, including the government/public sector, economics and business, high technology, architecture and design, biomedical industry and tourism.
- In order to foster economic growth in the Negev and Galilee, The Foundation awarded a three-year, $215,000 grant to the OR Movement, which will create and map thousands of jobs in those communities. The Foundation’s grant will help promote some 13,500 job opportunities in the Negev and Galilee, with the goal of filling 85 percent of those openings. The OR Movement also plans to activate and facilitate new Negev growth and development initiatives, and create relocation incentives for companies to foster sustainable economic growth in the region.
- The organization called Supportive Community/Shurush (Sviva Tomehet) has received a three-year $120,000 grant to provide Jewish and Israeli-Arab women with business training and small loans to help them develop home-based businesses, move their families out of poverty and strengthen Israel’s economy. The nonprofit was formed in 2003 to help women acquire knowledge, skills and management tools to achieve economic independence, social and personal development. Foundation funding will help support two 10-week training sessions per year in basic business skills and business plan development for 160 Jewish and Israeli-Arab women, and assist them with micro loan applications and financial guidance.
- A two-year $220,000 grant to Beit Morasha will allow the organization to train Israeli Defense Force (IDF) combat officers in techniques to engage their soldiers in explorations of Jewish values and identity. Founded in 1990, Beit Morasha cultivates committed intellectual leaders and decision-makers and equips them with the skills to inspire Jewish and Zionist identity, and bolster the strength and solidarity of the Jewish people in Israel and throughout the world. The Foundation grant will allow the organization to conduct 40 four-day training seminars in partnership with the IDF. During the seminars, Beit Morasha facilitators introduce battalion officers and commanders to Beit Midrash materials and outdoor education techniques, which the commanders then use with their soldiers.
updated: this post was updated December 7th to reflect the correct name of one of the grantees, Supportive Community/Shurush.