Israeli Government-Philanthropy Covid Relief Fund

We are delighted to announce the launch of the Israeli Government-Philanthropy Initiative for Strengthening Social Organizations.

This joint government-philanthropic relief fund, managed by JDC-Elka, aims to ensure that organizations continue operating and maintain their infrastructure in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic hit Israel's nonprofit sector hard. Some 50 percent of workers were furloughed, and 25 percent of organizations ceased operations entirely. Following a year of three elections but no budget, the sector was already in a precarious state. The pandemic reduced its capacity even further.

This threat to Israeli NGOs' survival prompted the need to initiate a first-of-its-kind partnership between the government and a group of major philanthropic foundations – a NIS 53 million relief fund supported 75:25 by government and philanthropy respectively.

Beyond the vital financial support it will bring to hundreds of NGOs in Israel, the fund represents a historic milestone in government-philanthropic cooperation.

Joint Vision: More than "just" funding a common venture, it is a statement of joint vision between Israeli Government and Philanthropy, in this case a desire to provide a lifeline to Israel's NGOs. By stepping up to help NGOs with whom it typically has few or no ties, i.e. those that usually rely on philanthropic support, the government has recognized Israel's NGO sector as a central pillar of Israeli society and the key role of philanthropic investment.

Systemic Breakthrough: The fund compelled the creation of an unparalleled shared decision-making process: special legislation was passed in order to create a statutory committee that includes nongovernmental representation. The fact that members of the committee hold weight and influence in decision making about the process and the final allocation of monies to organizations, is an acknowledgement by the government that it can collaborate with philanthropy to make social change. This in itself is a systemic change that opens up the possibility of more collaboration in the future.

Changing Perceptions: From a philanthropic perspective, the experience of working with highly proficient and committed government professionals has been largely positive and has changed prior perceptions of government as heavily bureaucratic and nontransparent, despite some bumps in the road. We believe that the joint work process and effort that was formed in light of the initiative development, has strengthen the understanding within the government that a collaboration with philanthropy is essential and serves the national interest of social sector resilience. We hope that the open dialogue that has taken place will create trust and a true partnership in the future.

See the initiative’s website for more information (in Hebrew) about the relief fund and eligibility criteria.

The site also includes a link to the application forms, which you can share with the NGOs you support. Please note that the deadline for submitting requests for assistance is August 4.

We also invite you to take a closer look at other services available to NGOs in Israel designed to address the various needs to safeguard organizational sustainably and resilience at this time.