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THE NATAN FUND AND ROI COMMUNITY ANNOUNCE THE RECIPIENTS OF THE FIRST “NATAN GRANTS FOR ROI ENTREPRENEURS”
4 ROI Community members to receive a total of $37,000 from Natan to broaden the reach and deepen the impact of innovative Jewish projects
Jerusalem, February 4, 2013 – The Natan Fund and ROI Community announced the recipients of the inaugural “Natan Grants for ROI Entrepreneurs,” a new grantmaking partnership dedicated to supporting ROI Community members with innovative ideas for diversifying Jewish life in communities around the world. The grants, totaling $37,000, will be distributed to four recipients hailing from the U.S., Mexico and Uruguay. The new partnership between Natan and ROI Community, a member of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network, was initiated as a way of integrating Natan’s growing group of young philanthropists with ROI’s global network of emerging entrepreneurs and innovators.
ROI Community members from 10 countries submitted a total of 45 proposals to Natan. Through a highly competitive vetting process, Natan members made their selections based on how innovative the projects are at addressing challenges within their respective regions, the strength of the project’s leadership team and how deeply the projects resonated with Natan’s grantmaking agenda. Seven projects advanced to the final interview stage, from which the Natan grant committee ultimately selected four grantees.
The recipients of the first “Natan Grants for ROI Entrepreneurs” are:
- Amy Beth Oppenheimer (United States). Oppenheimer is the Director of Faces of Israel, an educational film that explores Israel as a Jewish state today focusing on questions of Jewish identity, religious pluralism and civil liberties. She received the grant to bring the highly interactive Faces of Israel program, which includes presentation, discussion and film-viewing, into remote communities across the U.S. www.facesthemovie.com
- Fabian Schamis (Uruguay). Schamis is the Executive Director of Punta del Este Jewish Community. He received a grant for Nefesh, a new local school that is the only source of Jewish education and strives to develop new leadership committed to Judaism and the State of Israel. Nefesh is the first program in the region to address the youth and their needs and is already strengthening ties within the local community as well as with other communities in the broader region.
- Isidoro Hamui (Mexico). Hamui received a grant for Merkaba Fest, the first annual Jewish music festival in Mexico. Merkaba Fest aims to create, promote and explore both local and foreign artists and share Jewish culture and music with the greater Mexican society. http://www.ficj.org/
- Robert Saferstein (United States). Saferstein received a grant to expand Friday Night Lights, a series of sophisticated Shabbat dinners for gay Jewish professionals, each highlighting a different charitable organization helping the LGBTQ Community. Friday Night Lights offers new access points into the Jewish community and fosters a genuine interest in long-term Jewish involvement. www.fridaynightlightsevents.com
The Natan Fund generally provides early-stage funding for creative approaches to some of the key challenges facing the Jewish people and the State of Israel today. Its portfolios includes creating new access points to Jewish life, especially for younger Jews who are less engaged with existing communal organizations; strengthening the bonds that connect Jews to one another, particularly across geographic borders; and strengthening Israel’s economy. Its partnership with ROI emerged out of a desire to expand Natan’s grantmaking to very early-stage ideas around the world and a belief that ROI’s rigorously vetted pool of innovators with diverse approaches to strengthening Jewish life would prove to be an excellent network of applicants from which to draw.
“More than just a grant program, Natan’s partnership with ROI is also a way of strategically integrating two networks of dedicated young people who are transforming the Jewish world for the 21st century,” said Felicia Herman, Executive Director of The Natan Fund. “By bringing Natan’s network of young philanthropists together with ROI’s network of young entrepreneurs and innovators, and by creating a dedicated source of funding for ROI members, both Natan and ROI hope to strengthen and enhance each others’ work while collectively having an even greater impact on the Jewish world than either group could have on its own.”
“These grants are a prestigious recognition of the creative, multi-faceted ways ROI Community members are changing the face of Jewish communities around the world,” said Justin Korda, Executive Director of ROI Community. “Our partnership with The Natan Fund is an incredible opportunity to help take these particular projects to the next level and also to foster long-term relationships between emerging philanthropists and entrepreneurs with bold ideas for ensuring a brighter Jewish future.”
About ROI Community:
ROI Community is a global network of Jewish innovators created by Lynn Schusterman. ROI connects dynamic, creative Jews and gives them the tools, support and space to turn their ideas into innovative work that will change the face of Jewish life. ROI Community conferences, gatherings, professional development, mentorship opportunities and financial support empower ROI members as leaders, activists and change-agents in shaping the Jewish future.
ROI is a member of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network, a global network focused on igniting the passion and unleashing the power in young people to create change for themselves, in the Jewish community and across the broader world. www.roicommunity.org
Natan inspires young philanthropists to actively engage in Jewish giving by funding innovative projects that are shaping the Jewish future. Natan believes that educated, engaged, and entrepreneurial philanthropy can transform both givers and nonprofit organizations. Natan members pool their charitable contributions, set the philanthropic strategy and agenda for the foundation, and allocate funds to innovative organizations that are building new vision for the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Through unique educational events and experiences, and through a rigorous, hands-on grantmaking process, Natan is creating an influential, philanthropically-minded community of young Jews dedicated to transforming the Jewish future. www.natan.org