ANNOUNCEMENT

itrek and Schusterman Family Philanthropies Announce REALITY Journeys to Continue Under itrek

REALITY, which has taken 3,000+ influential leaders on formative learning journeys to Israel, will continue under itrek, a longtime partner of Schusterman Family Philanthropies.

May 29, 2024

  • REALITY
  • Israel Education and Engagement
  • Leadership Development

CONTACT: [email protected] 

Washington, D.C. Today, itrek and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies announced an exciting expansion of its partnership. Beginning July 1, 2024, Schusterman’s REALITY program, which has brought more than 3,000 influential leaders to Israel over the past 15 years, will move under itrek. An additional multi-year grant from Schusterman will enable itrek to operate the REALITY program as part of its portfolio of Israel experiences designed for leaders.

Under itrek, REALITY will continue to bring leaders from diverse backgrounds and sectors on formative learning journeys to Israel. The journeys will enable participants to build their understanding of Israel and a complex region of the world, enhance their leadership skills, and connect with peers from across the globe. itrek will also build upon the REALITY alumni community fostered over the past several years to support alumni in bringing new understanding, leadership skills and collaborations forged in Israel back to their communities.

“We are incredibly proud of the impact REALITY has had and are thrilled that the program will continue under itrek,” said Stacy Schusterman, Chair of Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. “itrek has a strong track record of connecting diverse leaders with Israel, and REALITY will enable itrek to expand its reach into new sectors and communities. It is critically important to invest in meaningful Israel travel that enables people to experience Israel firsthand and learn about its history, diverse society and role in a complex region of the world.”

itrek launched in 2011 with a mission to empower leaders to engage their networks in meaningful Israel experiences, fostering an understanding and appreciation of Israel’s unique culture, diversity and complex reality. More than 25,000 graduate students representing 130 nationalities from schools in the US, Canada and Europe have traveled to Israel through itrek.

Over the last two years, itrek has expanded beyond graduate school students, piloting offerings to bring more leaders to Israel. REALITY is a fitting next step in itrek’s growth and will broaden itrek’s ability to empower leaders across sectors through their Israel experiences.

“We have long admired the REALITY program and are delighted to bring it to itrek,” said Gil Galanos, Co-Founder and CEO of itrek. “We are deeply grateful to Schusterman for their long-standing commitment to itrek and for the opportunity to expand our impact with leaders around the globe. We believe now more than ever it is essential for leaders to experience Israel, engage in dialogue and grapple with complexity.”

Since its founding in 2009, REALITY has hosted 85 Israel journeys and 10 global travel journeys. More than 3,000 people have experienced a REALITY journey, of which three in five experienced Israel for the first time. According to surveys of REALITY alumni, 95% of participants return from a journey reporting a closer connection to Israel; 96% report an increased motivation to repair the world; and 85% report gaining new leadership skills. Three in five REALITY alumni build meaningful collaborations within the REALITY community.

Schusterman announced in March that it will no longer run its REALITY and Schusterman Fellowship programs as part of its shift to fully focus its resources in the U.S. solely on existing grantmaking priorities. Schusterman will also continue its grantmaking in Israel, as well as operate its ROI Community program there. The partnership between Schusterman and itrek to continue REALITY reflects Schusterman’s commitment to continue investing significantly in Israel travel and leadership development through its Jewish grantmaking portfolio. Schusterman has funded itrek since its inception in 2011.

As part of the partnership, several REALITY staff will join the itrek team to continue to deliver a first-class experience for Journey participants and connections with the REALITY community. REALITY and itrek share a belief in the power of immersive experiences in Israel that enable participants to go beyond the headlines and engage deeply with the historical, social and political realities facing Israel and the surrounding region, as well as with the people and communities shaping its future.
 

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Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies strives for a future in which the United States and Israel live up to their highest ideals and achieve more just and inclusive societies. In the U.S., we work to advance racial, gender and economic equity as well as to foster a more joyful and diverse Jewish community. In Israel, we work toward a secure homeland for the Jewish people, a thriving democracy and an inclusive society that cares for its most vulnerable. We aim to drive and support long-term systemic change through investments in leaders, organizations and U.S. public policy. Learn more at www.schusterman.org.

itrek is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers rising and current influentials to experience Israel firsthand. Through peer, professional and faculty-led Israel Treks, both graduate students from top programs and industry leaders experience Israel’s innovation, diversity and complex reality. With over 25,000 participants representing 130 nationalities since its launch in 2011, itrek brings the richness and complexity of Israel to life through Israel Treks that combine education, culture and fun—and leave a lasting impression on participants. Learn more at www.itrek.org/