Israel Impact Grant Initiative Committee Visits Grantees

By Steve Ganz, Israel IGI member

It is often said we must think globally and act locally.  As a member of the Israel Impact Grant Initiative (Israel IGI), I had an opportunity to help people and organizations who are trying to make local change – local to Israel.  These organizations are called “social ventures” – ventures that undertake to make social change.  Working with troubled youth, enhancing social movements and/or enabling non-profits to have the resources to succeed in achieving their mission are just a few examples of the missions of such ventures.  I was given this rare opportunity to help make a difference and truly a difference was made – both in helping these groups and in me.

 

Our institutional partner in Israel is the Israel Venture Network (IVN). IVN is an impact investment organization, creating sustainable social change in Israel through breakthrough social enterprise programs and venture philanthropy. In addition to financial investment in these ventures, IVN provides mentorship to help these groups succeed in making social change.  Our IGI Committee read through many proposals for funding and we researched these ventures to understand who they are and what they do.

Reading about what these groups do cannot compare to actually seeing and meeting the people they work with. For example, when we were visiting one venture - Susan's House in Jerusalem - we had the opportunity to meet with graduates of the program.  One of the project's main goals is to offer at-risk youth basic skills while encouraging them to return to a normative life style. These are kids who when entering the program see no hope in their futures. However, one young man we met just finished three years in the military. He now has a job waiting for him and an exciting future ahead.  Alongside this graduate was a young man who just finished the program.  “It was time,” he said, “to move on.”  Susan’s House helped him find direction, but he learned that he needed to forge the path ahead on his own.

Other groups we funded looked at more than providing individual service.  Jobs4Moms is a group that is trying to make a fundamental change in fabric of Israeli society.  It is structurally difficult to spend time with your child while at the same time work the expected long hours of professional/executive jobs.  The leaders of this venture are working with companies to create jobs that allow for flexibility to work and still be an attentive parent.

The IGI group met with amazing individuals in Israel who have dedicated their lives to seeing and fulfilling change in Israel. From the north in Haifa, all the way down to the Gaza, the groups we met with have a specific mission they wish to follow.  I am only glad I was part of a group that was dedicated and diligent in their efforts to help make a difference.
 

Read our press release announcing the grantees, and learn more about our partnership with Israel Venture Network.  For more information on the Israel IGI contact Siggy Rubinson at 415.512.6429.

 

Categories: Grantees, Israel, Overseas

Posted

May 13, 2013

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