New York, August 11, 2015.
The Natan Fund, a giving circle based in New York City supporting Jewish and Israeli social innovation, today announced $1.2 million in 46 grants to cutting-edge emerging Jewish and Israeli nonprofit organizations and social entrepreneurs.
The 2015-2016 grants mark the organization’s 12th annual round of grantmaking and one of the largest grant pools in the organization’s history. Through a multi-stage vetting process, 67 of Natan’s 100+ members and supporters, sitting on nine different grant committees reviewed almost 300 applications, ultimately making grants to organizations based in North America, Israel, Argentina, Austria, Sweden and the UK.
Grant recipients range from the earliest-stage ideas of individual social entrepreneurs to “post-startup” organizations that Natan has supported for multiple years. Most grantees seek to create new access points to Jewish life for people around the world, including through arts and culture, food and outdoor education, emerging spiritual communities, cutting-edge uses of new media, and efforts to ensure that Jewish communities and institutions are broadly inclusive and welcoming.
Another significant focus is economic development in Israel, where Natan is now investing in both traditional nonprofits and social enterprises.
Natan seeks to balance the aggregate philanthropic interests of its members with the evolving needs of the Jewish community and the State of Israel. To that end, its two newest grant committees focus on supporting initiatives that strengthen the Jewish identity of Russian-speaking Jews (RSJ) in North America and providing small grants for urban renewal projects in Jerusalem.
The RSJ grant committee, consisting of 16 new RSJ Natan members, benefited from matching funds from Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG). Committee members allocated $152,000 to seven creative initiatives: microgrants supporting RSJ artists’ work through Asylum Arts, a global network of contemporary Jewish artists; Lost & Found Project’s experimental theater projects exploring the Russian-Jewish immigrant experience; Jewish Parent Academy’s new program to educate the parents of Jewish day school students; expanding the growing community of people using Project Zug’s online chevruta platform to RSJs around the world; Rjeneration’s DIY on the FLY program, a yearlong series of do-it-yourself Jewish workshops and activities; and efforts to support college- and high school-aged advocates for Israel through Shalom Education Center and Tanger Hillel at Brooklyn College.
“Empowering Russian-speaking Jews to become philanthropists is critical to sustaining the vibrancy of Jewish communities around the world,” said Ilia Salita, CEO of Genesis Philanthropy Group. “Giving circles like Natan are an excellent way to bring emerging philanthropists into a thoughtful experience of giving, and GPG has been delighted to be part of a process that has enabled these philanthropists to support the initiatives that resonated most with them.”
Natan’s Small Grants for the Renewal of Jerusalem committee parallels the grantmaking work of two new giving circles based in Jerusalem, made up of residents of the city. The circles are all making independent grant decisions, but will be sharing what they learn and building relationships between members and grant recipients. Natan’s grants will support social entrepreneurs, grassroots initiatives, and emerging nonprofit organizations that are spearheading innovative initiatives that revitalize and strengthen Jerusalem as a diverse cultural, spiritual and educational hub. These grants are still under consideration and will be announced in fall 2015.
Other notable new additions to the Natan grant portfolio include:
- Eshel works for the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Jews in the Orthodox community.
- Israel Story is a new radio program dedicated to highlighting the intricacies of Israeli society, and telling the story of a different and diverse Israel rarely heard on the airwaves.
- Kahal provides American Jewish college students studying abroad with the resources and connections they need to be part of the Jewish communities in which they are temporarily living.
Since 2002, Natan has awarded $10.8 million in grants to 190 emerging Jewish organizations, social businesses, and social entrepreneurs around the world working in a range of issue areas.
Some notable facts about Natan’s 2015-16 grants:
- 23 organizations in the 2015-2016 grants portfolio are new to Natan, 22 are grant renewals;
- Grant recipients are based in North America (31), Israel (18), United Kingdom (2), and 1 each in Argentina, Austria and Sweden;
- 65% of grants are for general operating support, 35% are for program support.
A full list of the 2015-16 grantees can be found on Natan’s website: www.natan.org.
About: Natan inspires young philanthropists to become actively engaged in Jewish giving. Natan is a giving circle through which members grant early-stage funding to cutting-edge nonprofit organizations that are shaping the Jewish future. Since 2002, through a rigorous collaborative giving process, Natan members have awarded over $10.8 million to 190 social entrepreneurs, social businesses, and emerging nonprofits around the world. In September 2014, Natan launched Amplifier: The Jewish Giving Circle Movement, a global initiative to strengthen and expand the field of Jewish giving circles. To learn more, visit: www.Natan.org and www.AmplifierGiving.org.