Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles Awards $1.5 Million in COVID-19 Response Grants to Sustain 15 Organizations in Israel

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) announced that it has awarded $1.5 million in grants to help sustain 15 nonprofits in Israel experiencing economic hardship due to the pandemic. The organization’s focus is on fostering economic development and Jewish identity.

These latest distributions are part of the previously announced COVID-19 Response Grants, the multi-stage initiative through which in 2020 The Foundation has committed more than $8 million in giving, the largest amount ever earmarked by the institution to a single cause. Of that total, $2 million or approximately 25 percent, including $500,000 in grants awarded previously for emergency support, was directed to programs in Israel.

Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin I. Schotland stated: “Similar to what we are experiencing domestically, the impact of the pandemic on nonprofit causes and programs doing vital work in Israel is significant. The communities served by many of these organizations already reside on the margins of that country, further exacerbating challenges. In keeping with The Foundation’s commitment to supporting important work in Israel, we have made these awards to initiatives that have the power to lift the lives of countless people.”

Schotland added that each of the grantees was previously a recipient of The Foundation’s Israel Grants initiative, providing the institution with familiarity and understanding of the efficacy of their work. “Our prior knowledge about these organizations, including our first-hand visits to see their meaningful accomplishments, provides us with confidence of both their viability and potential for long-term, post-pandemic success,” he said.

About the Grant Recipients

Economic Development

Amutat Kaima works to improve the lives of at-risk youth through a multifaceted approach including organic farming, leadership development, vocational education, and community activities.

Appleseeds Academy aims to close the digital divide through technological programs, vocational training, and job placement.

Crossroads provides crisis intervention and prevention programs for at-risk first- and second-generation immigrant teens and young adults from the United States, Canada, and Europe who are struggling with social, emotional, and/or educational difficulties.

Educating for Excellence strives to reduce socioeconomic inequality and foster social mobility by creating opportunities for youth from underprivileged backgrounds to excel in school, enter and succeed in higher education, and integrate into society via the employment market.

Gvahim works to connect skilled new immigrants to the Israeli employment market and entrepreneurship ecosystem through training, mentorship, and networking.

Hillel – The Right to Choose assists thousands of Yotzim (those who leave ultra-Orthodox communities) to integrate into wider Israeli society by offering a hotline and drop-in centers; transitional housing; a 24-hour emergency shelter; counseling and support services; academic support; employment programs and other activities.

Jaffa Institute works to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by providing educational, nutritional, therapeutic, and social enrichment services to impoverished communities in Jaffa, South Tel Aviv, Bat Yam, and Bet Shemesh.

Koret Israel Economic Development Funds is a leading Israeli NGO in the field of SME (small and medium enterprises) credit and microfinance services striving to create employment opportunities and social equality for economically and socially marginalized populations in the private sector.

Machshava Tova offers underprivileged populations access to technology in a supportive and empowering environment by providing opportunities for technological training while creating new pathways in employment, increasing social inclusion, and minimizing social gaps in Israel.

Olim Beyahad seeks to increase the employment rate among Ethiopian Israeli university graduates by integrating them into the forefront of Israel’s workforce and providing equal opportunities for employment.

Unistream works to narrow the socioeconomic gaps in Israel by training and mentoring high-potential youth and young adults from underserved communities while providing them opportunities to realize their potential.

Commenting on its grant, Machshava Tova CEO Ornit Ben-Yashar stated: “Long hours of online study have turned many children and youth off from technology. This generous grant from The Foundation enables Machshava Tova’s newly-developed workshops and activities to engage children in learning new skills, use technology as a learning tool, and allow them to have fun again. In addition, the support will enable us to help those without digital skills – who were originally cut off and isolated – to have some sense of normalcy throughout a very uncertain reality.”

Jewish Identity

Atid Bamidbar strives to promote a more inclusive Israeli society by connecting Jews of all backgrounds (Russian, Mizrahi, Ethiopian, and other marginalized populations) in the Negev and beyond with each other and with their Jewish heritage.

BINA: The Jewish Movement for Social Change (BINA) is at the intersection of Jewish pluralism and social action in Israel, seeking to strengthen Israel as a democratic, pluralistic, and just society through Jewish study, social action, and community building.

Chamah assists individuals and families, primarily from the Russian community, through job placement, holiday food distribution, and Jewish-identity programming via humanitarian and educational programs. In addition to its work in Israel, Chamah also operates programs in the U.S. and Russia.

Hut HaMeshulash provides programming, shelter, and support to at-risk youth and young adults in Jerusalem – including survivors of physical/sexual abuse, high school dropouts, and homeless youth – so that they may reintegrate into society as confident and capable individuals.

“Thanks to The Foundation’s support, BINA will be able to develop new educational content, ensuring that we bring our Israeli-Judaism activities to individuals and communities wherever they are,” said Julia Tobias, BINA’s director of development. “When there is a need – and interest – for more meaningful educational-cultural experiences, we will be able to meet it.”

About The Jewish Community Foundation

Established in 1954, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles manages charitable assets of more than $1.4 billion (unaudited; Dec. 31, 2020) entrusted to it by over 1,300 families and ranks among the 10 largest Los Angeles foundations. It partners with donors to shape meaningful philanthropic strategies, magnify the impact of their giving, and build enduring charitable legacies. In 2020, The Foundation and its donors distributed $116 million to 2,700 nonprofits with programs that span the range of philanthropic giving. Over the past 12 years, it has distributed more than $1 billion to thousands of nonprofits across a diverse spectrum.