New Initiative Launches to Promote Global Jewish Service
Tel Aviv, Israel – Mar. 22, 2015 – The Alliance for Global Good, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and Pears Foundation are partnering to launch OLAM, a shared platform to promote global Jewish service – volunteering and service learning, international development, and social justice advocacy – in order to support communities in need around the world.
OLAM will serve as a field-building resource, championing, coordinating and educating for the benefit of existing organizations, practitioners, and volunteers. It will expand the global Jewish community’s awareness and philanthropic support of these fields; build and strengthen practitioner networks to facilitate sharing knowledge and best practices; and grow the number of volunteers and practitioners and direct them to Jewish opportunities for involvement around the globe.
From providing urgent health care in Haiti, to training farmers to maximize their yields in Kenya, to rescuing people from the ruins of an explosion in Mexico, Jewish and Israeli organizations are pursuing meaningful ways to relieve suffering and inspire a new generation of Jewish global citizens in the process. A landscape analysis commissioned by OLAM in anticipation of its launch, Global Citizens Changing the World, identifies over 40 Jewish organizations in the fields of volunteering and service learning, international development and social justice advocacy. Despite their numerous achievements, many are underfunded, under-networked, and under-recognized as they address vast challenges, such as disease, poverty, and hunger.
“Today’s global Jewish community is blessed with unprecedented wealth and influence. Israel, which was a developing country less than 60 years ago, has a strong economy and is a world leader in many realms,” said Dyonna Ginsburg, the newly appointed executive director of OLAM. “Yet, with resources comes responsibility – a responsibility to be true to our own tradition of tikkun olam, repairing a fractured world, and to do our part to address some of the world’s most complex issues, which no single organization or funder can solve alone. It is only by coming together and learning from one another that we can leverage the tremendous wisdom that already exists.”
Ginsburg joins OLAM after serving as the Director of Education and Service Learning at The Jewish Agency for Israel. Previously, she served as Executive Director of Bema’aglei Tzedek (Circles of Justice), an Israeli NGO that aspires to create a more just Israeli society inspired by Jewish values, and was one of the founders of Siach, a global network of Jewish social justice and environmental professionals.
Under Ginsburg’s leadership, OLAM will help existing organizations work effectively together and multiply their collective impact while also engaging a new generation of Jews in global Jewish service. Among its initial activities, OLAM will convene and network professionals in the field and provide shared professional training, curricular resources, evaluation tools, and other opportunities for strategic planning and learning. OLAM will also work to organize study trips around the world for key funders and influencers, such as rabbis and other leaders, to raise the profile of global Jewish service generally.
The Alliance for Global Good, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and Pears Foundation have each been independently funding organizations in the fields of volunteering and service learning, international development, and social justice advocacy for many years. OLAM was founded out of the shared belief that collaboration and coordination – among foundations, organizations and individuals – can exponentially increase the Jewish community’s impact on the world’s most pressing issues.