The Natan Fund Announces 2012 Grants

New York, NY February 6, 2012 – The Natan Fund today announced $973,500 in 47 grants to 48 emerging nonprofits organizations and individuals in Jewish communities around the world. The 2012 grants reflect Natan members’ unwavering commitment to supporting innovative initiatives that are transforming 21st-century Jewish life. “In our ninth annual round of grants, Natan’s grantmaking has grown both broader and deeper,” said David Steinhardt, chair of Natan’s board of trustees. “Natan continually takes risks on new ideas, new people and new initiatives, while at the same time remaining committed to current grantees that are demonstrating success.”

Natan received over 350 Letters of Inquiry in 2011 in nine discrete focus areas. Unlike most traditional grantmaking foundations, Natan is a network of about 80 young philanthropists who pool their charitable resources and collaborate to make grants to emerging Jewish and Israeli nonprofit organizations. Through a rigorous, multi-stage review process, Natan members collectively vetted the proposals, interviewed grant finalists, and ultimately made grants to organizations operating in North America, Israel, Europe, Asia and on the web.

Natan’s grants provide early-stage funding to creative approaches to some of the key challenges facing the Jewish people and the State of Israel: creating new access points to Jewish life, especially for younger Jews who are less engaged with existing communal organizations; strengthening the bonds that connect Jews to one another, especially across geographic borders; building the capacity of Jewish communities and institutions to become more inclusive of traditionally-marginalized populations; and strengthening Israel’s economy.

Since 2002, Natan has awarded $7.77 million in grants to 129 emerging Jewish organizations and social entrepreneurs around the world. New grantees for 2012 include:

  • A Wider Bridge – inspiring LGBT Jews to deepen their Jewish identity through connecting with Israel and creating collaborations between American Jewish and Israeli LGBT communities.
  • Asian Jewish Life – connecting Jews across Asia to each other, preserving Asian Jewish heritage, and building bridges between local Asian communities, Asian Jews and the State of Israel.
  • Jewgether – an online hospitality network (“couchsurfing”) for young Jews that promotes and enhances relationships between Jews around the world.
  • Jewrnalism – creating a cadre of young Jewish “citizen journalists” from Central and Eastern Europe who will utilize new media technologies to expand understanding of contemporary European Jewish life.
  • Panim – supporting “The Israeli Network of Emergent Communities,” a new network of leaders of grassroots kehillot (communities) that are creating a pluralist and authentically Israeli renewal of Jewish life in Israel.
  • Urban Adamah – a community organic farm and Jewish environmental education center run by young adult Fellows, integrating urban organic farming, direct social justice work and Jewish living and learning.

A full list of the 2012 grantees can be found on Natan’s website.

More details on Natan’s 2012 grants:

  • 36 grants are for general operating support; 11 are program grants;
  • 34 grants are renewals; 9 organizations and 4 individuals are new to Natan for 2012; 64% of 2011 grants were renewed;
  • 33 grants are to organizations based in North America; 13 to organizations based in Israel; 2 to organizations based in Europe and 1 to an organization based in Asia;
  • 16 organizations either work exclusively with Israelis (5) or feature Israel as a major programmatic element of their work (11);
  • 10 grants are to new media organizations or projects, across 6 different grant areas;
  • 9 grants are to initiatives focused on the intersection between Jewish life and the environment, food, or agriculture;
  • 4 grants are to organizations focusing on gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender Jews, across 4 different grant areas.

Natan 2013 grant process will open in March 2012.