Reflecting on the 2019 Israeli Philanthropy Conference

By Maya Natan

On September 9th, over 200 funders, foundation professionals, and philanthropic representatives gathered in Tel Aviv to be part of the growing community of Israeli philanthropists at the 2nd Israeli Philanthropy Conference.

The conference was presented by JFN Israel in partnership with Tel Aviv University’s Institute for Law and Philanthropy, the Forum of Foundations in Israel, and Committed to Give.

The conference was an opportunity to hear from trailblazers like Matty Kochavi, Eva’s Instagram Story, and Yanki Margalit, past chairman of Space IL in conversation with Alona Baron of Globes publication discussing the Israeli term for philanthropy, the role of the media in supporting the growing ecosystem of philanthropy, and the unique role philanthropists play in fostering innovation and social entrepreneurship.

The day continued with the launch of DAFIsrael, a new organization on the JFN Israel platform which will allow Israelis, for the first time, to use Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) to structure their giving. In the USA and other countries, DAFs are the fastest-growing vehicle for philanthropic giving, and DAF-Israel will finally bring the flexibility and ease of this philanthropic instrument onto the Israeli landscape.

Attendees also had the opportunity to preview key findings from a new Map of Philanthropic Investment in Israel, the first mapping initiative of its kind, made possible by new efforts to share data and knowledge on the part of funders working in Israel. The purpose of this mapping was to characterize where and how philanthropic money is invested in Israel. This is in line with the pursuit of effective giving and will help to position philanthropic work alongside the social, public and business sectors in Israel.

Here are just a handful of the many key findings we learned:

  • More than half of major foundation gifts in Israel go to education, and most of that represents gifts to leading research universities.
  • Donors are much more tightly focused in terms of their range of issue areas than they are in terms of their range of strategic models.
  • Smaller-amount donors engage in more cooperation, on the whole, than larger-amount donors.

The full mapping will be available to the public soon, so stay tuned for that!

The day concluded with three breakout session focusing on current trending topics in Israeli society all of which had lively and engaging discussions on:

  • The relationship between government and philanthropy
  • Philanthropy and politics
  • Arts and culture: philanthropy and its role regarding freedom of expression

Maya Natan is the Director of JFN Israel.