Natan Fund Announces 2017-18 ROI Entrepreneur Grant Recipients

The Natan Fund, a giving circle based in New York City supporting Jewish and Israeli social innovation, has named the recipients of its 2017-2018 Natan Grants for ROI Entrepreneurs. The Natan Fund annually offers $40,000 in grants to members of ROI Community who are developing cutting-edge projects to deepen global Jewish engagement. ROI Community is an initiative of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation,

The 2017-2018 Natan Grants for ROI Entrepreneurs are:

  • Sonja Vilicic, HAVER SRBIJA (Serbia): Haver Srbija is the only Jewish Serbian non-governmental organization. It is dedicated to inspiring young Jews to connect with the Jewish community, acting as a bridge to educate the general public about Jewish culture and history, fostering inter-cultural dialogue, and combating discrimination and anti-Semitism. Natan’s grant will enable Haver Srbija to strengthen its programs and train new volunteers to work both within Haver Srbija’s programs and beyond.
  • Matan Koch, IGNITING INCLUSION INITIATIVE (US): Igniting Inclusion Initiative runs programs, speeches and workshops, from full length scholar in residence weekends, to camp residencies, and individual adult, youth, and religious school programs igniting a passion for the idea that enabling the participation of people with disabilities helps everyone to realize their full potential. With Natan’s grant, Matan Koch will partner with Matan, another organization focused on inclusion, to create a robust toolkit for camps, schools and synagogues to teach about universal inclusion and train young people to become inclusion advocates.
  • Mordechai Levovitz, JEWISH QUEER YOUTH (US): Jewish Queer Youth (JQY) is the first and only LGBTQ Orthodox Jewish support system for high school students and their families. Started and run by mental health professionals experienced in the Orthodox community, JQY offers support online, by phone and through in-person crisis and group programming that is culturally sensitive and tailored to Orthodox, Hasidic, and Sephardic Jews. Natan’s grant will support JQY’s teen drop-in center in New York.
  • Shoshana Bloom, LIVLUV (UK): LivLuv is a new initiative that empowers people with developmental, intellectual and cognitive disabilities to take control of their Jewish identity. Through accessible resources, materials, mentoring and leadership development programs, LivLuv creates opportunities for people with additional needs to become proud, active, and contributing members of the Jewish community.
  • Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion, YIDLIFE CRISIS (North America): YidLife Crisis is a Yiddish comedy web video series that engages diverse and unaffiliated Jews through comedy and introduces Yiddish/Yiddishkayt to Jews and non-Jews globally through the power of the internet. Natan’s renewal grant will enable YidLife Crisis to enhance and expand the distribution of its content.

The Natan Fund and ROI Community share a goal of forging new and innovative access points to Jewish life for young Jews. ROI Community entrepreneurs are working toward redefining Jewish engagement worldwide and therefore are an excellent match for Natan Fund’s mission of providing early-stage funding to develop creative strategies that address central challenges facing the Jewish people and Israel.

The next opportunity to apply for the Natan Grants for ROI Entrepreneurs will be in Summer 2017.