Israel Venture Network Wins Contract from Israeli Government with a Little Help from its Friends

Israel Venture Network (IVN), a venture philanthropy organization that leverages the business acumen of its global membership to support social businesses that strive to narrow Israel’s growing employment, economic, and educational gaps, has a close partnership and friendship with the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. Over the past several years, IVN and the Federation have collaborated on a number of projects – one of which is a leadership program that engages young leaders who are interested in participating in IVN’s process of supporting social businesses in Israel. Two cohorts of 18 Bay Area leaders have gone through an in-depth selection process over the course of six months, which includes a trip to Israel to meet with the finalists and, ultimately, select social businesses to be grantees. IVN has managed a portfolio of over 30 social businesses since assuming this strategy in 2012.

Taly Dunevich

Last year, IVN partnered with the Federation on a different kind of project. When the Israeli government issued a Request for Proposals to create the first social venture fund in Israel, IVN knew it wanted to apply. However, in the process of applying, the organization realized that it needed legal assistance. Taly Dunevich, the past U.S. Director of IVN, explained: “We had no clue how to create an entity that can receive loans and also receive investments – investments that will be returned eventually, with interest. This is a combination of a nonprofit, a 501(c)(3), and a business entity. And we didn’t know how to tackle that. On top of that, this entity needs to work with an Israeli entity, which is a different thing. So everything needs to work together and meet the U.S. law and the Israeli law, and we just didn’t know how to handle this complex legal issue.”

Taly reached out to the Federation’s Pro Bono Consulting Practice to seek the kind of legal support IVN needed. She reflected, “I approached the Federation and told them I needed legal assistance since we were creating a new fund with the Israeli government. They helped me find the best legal advisor I could ever ask for in New York who specializes in exactly what we were seeking.”

Ron Grabov-Nardini

Ron Grabov-Nardini, who moved to the U.S. 15 years ago from Israel, is a partner at the Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP firm in New York City. He specializes in international tax law and the transfer of intellectual property across borders, and is deeply committed to Israel. Referred to the Federation by a friend, Ron remarked, “I definitely want to participate in the pro bono practice, especially when it deals with or involves elements that I appreciate, specifically Israel-related.”

Taly explained that “Ron came into the picture and he knew the law. He created a few models for us, and each model had its advantages and disadvantages. It wasn’t easy even for them because it’s really a complex legal matter. We worked for a few months together, adding other consultants to the mix from the accounting side, and he helped me navigate through all this information and reach the best solution. He was very, very helpful.”

Both Taly and Ron emphasized the importance of understanding how to work both with Americans and Israelis throughout this process. It was important to Taly that her legal consultant be able to speak Hebrew.

The partnership between IVN and Ron proved immensely successful, as IVN won the public contract to manage the Yozma Fund in 2015 and, in January 2016, made its first investment in a social business called Call Yachol, Israel’s first outsourced call center to be staffed and managed primarily by adults with physical, mental and emotional disability.

Taly and Ron each reflected on how positive it was to work with the other. “Working with Taly was great,” Ron said. “I though it was a great experience and really good connection.” Taly laughingly remarked that Ron “also became a really good friend of mine. So I gained a friend through this partnership and all this work together.” When asked, Ron and his team estimated the value of their time spent on the project to be $27,620 – nearly 47 hours of pro bono work.

Taly emphasized her gratitude toward the Federation in San Francisco, saying, “It’s just the greatest partner. Every time we have a need, I can go to them and I know that if I express my need they will see how they can help me with their network, funding, committees, and advice. It is an amazing partner, really. I’m very, very grateful for their friendship and partnership.”

For more information about the Pro Bono Consulting Practice, contact Bab Freiberg, Director of Strategic Consulting. Are you a nonprofit seeking assistance? Request pro bono help now. Would you like to be a consultant? Share your skills.

For more information about the Israel Venture Network, contact Rebecca Schumer, U.S. Director, at or 617.817.7841.


July 13, 2016


Noa Silver