Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles Awards $1.6m. in Israel Grants

A resident of Yemin Orde Youth Village plants basil at the Village’s Eco-Farm, a popular gathering place for events, activities, and learning.

The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) has awarded approximately $1.6 million through its annual Israel Grants initiative. Approximately $1 million of that total was given to six organizations to support programs that strengthen the country’s Jewish identity and economic development. In a first, The Foundation granted an additional $600,000 to five initiatives across Israel which provide essential services for at-risk youth.

Since 2010, The Foundation has distributed grants totaling more than $7 million to over 50 organizations throughout Israel. The most recent awards are a 45 percent increase from $1.1 million distributed through the Israel Grants program in the previous year. The Foundation, the largest manager of charitable assets and planned giving solutions for Los Angeles Jewish philanthropists, awards its Israel Grants to organizations with a strong track record of creating meaningful change in the country, that have achievable short-term outcomes, affect a significant number of people or regions, and offer opportunities for partnerships with other funders.

Recipient organizations in the areas of Jewish identity and economic development include: Center for Educational Technology; Chamah; Ein Prat; Yaacov Herzog Center for Jewish Studies; Appleseeds Academy; and The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles (in partnership with Unistream). In addition, the five organizations supporting at-risk youth, each awarded grants of $120,000, were: Eden Association; Keren Koby Mandell; Shanti House; the Summit Institute; and Yemin Orde.

Notable among these grants was a $200,000 award to The Jewish Federation for its collaborative partnership with Unistream. Foundation funding will help establish one new Entrepreneurship Center that will prepare disadvantaged teens for meaningful and successful career paths through business development, entrepreneurship and leadership skills training.

Unistream works to narrow socio-economic gaps in Israeli society by cultivating high potential youth and young adults from underprivileged communities and providing them with the opportunity to realize their potential as successful adults. It operates 13 Entrepreneurship Centers, with 1,500 participants and 1,000 alumni nationwide, making it a leader in training low-income Israeli youth to be entrepreneurs and successful business people.

This year’s other Israel Grants recipients include:

Jewish Identity and Economic Development & Self-Sufficiency

  • Appleseeds Academy, Code Blue, $120,000 – To increase the employability of young adults living in peripheral cities through vocational training, practical experience and employment placement in the technology field.
  • Center for Educational Technology, 929, $200,000 – To use new technology to engage Israeli Jews of all religious identities in studying the 929 chapters of the Tanach as a tool to increase pluralistic and respectful speech within Israeli society.
  • Chamah, Holiday and Weekend Retreats program, $125,000 – To fund Shabbat and holiday retreats for former Soviet Union immigrants to enhance their Jewish identity and awareness.
  • Ein Prat, Alumni Network Program, $150,000 – To build upon the increased Jewish identity fostered through Ein Prat’s intensive study programs, this grant will fund programming for alumni and friends from across the religious spectrum who want to deepen their Jewish engagement and learning experiences.
  • Yaacov Herzog Center, Teens Talk Jewish Identity: Culture, Conflict and CoExistence in Israeli Society, $200,000 – To strengthen the Jewish identity and community involvement of secular and religious students at Israeli high schools and youth villages.

AtRisk Youth

  • Eden Association, Second Chance – To provide at-risk girls ages 12-18 with the education, life skills and employment experience needed to become self-sufficient, successful adults.
  • Keren Koby Mandell, Camp Koby – To provide primarily orphaned youth who have suffered loss of an immediate family member due to terror or tragedy with therapeutic services and a loving community through Camp Koby.
  • Shanti House, Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program – To provide therapeutic horseback riding for at-risk youth ages 14-21 to build confidence and independence at Shanti House, a supportive residence for runaway, homeless youth.
  • The Summit Institute, Warm and Loving Home – To place at-risk babies and children who have been severely abused, neglected or orphaned, in safe, supportive homes in the care of trained, compatible foster families.
  • Yemin Orde, Therapeutic Treatment Center at Yemin Orde Youth Village – To provide psychological care to at-risk teen immigrants ages 13-19 from Ethiopia, the former Soviet Union, France and Brazil who reside at Yemin Orde to empower them to achieve a successful future.