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I thought, "Once an ROIer, always an ROIer." What's changed?

Being an ROIer doesn't have an expiration date. What's changed is that different sets of opportunities will be available to you at different times and depending on the social change fields you're active in.

Is this a strategic change?

Yes. We are intentionally harnessing the incredible power and creativity of our network into specific fields of impact. This is a process we began in 2022, when we first set out to make our work more focused, measurable, and impactful, as well as more deeply connected to the work of Schusterman Family Philanthropies – Israel. 

Over the past year and a half, ROIers have already been asked to join us on this path by creating targeted impact in critical fields: from coronavirus response, to emergency support for Ukraine—and all the way to the recent wartime grants.

This shift is ROI's activity becoming more strategic, measurable and focused. We are now offering more opportunities to support your professional development and help you elevate your skills and capacity for creating impact in our core areas of impact.

Why are you launching it now?

The crises being faced by Israel and the global Jewish community today have shown us that now—davka now—is the right time for us to embody this change to the fullest. Our areas of impact, and how we generate change within them, must be more focused on the contemporary challenges arising from the war and October 7.

Why is ROI becoming more Israel focused?

Over the past five years, Schusterman—of which ROI is an integral part—has deepened its investments in strengthening Israel as a secure homeland for the Jewish people, a thriving democracy and an inclusive civil society. The strategy shift we began in 2022 aimed to more deeply connect ROI's work to Schusterman's grantmaking areas. We are continuing on that trajectory by focusing more deeply and specifically on our Israel-related priorities. 

The fact that Israel is facing its most challenging period since its establishment only makes this shift seem more urgent. We therefore are placing a larger emphasis on social change in issues related to Israel to meet the immense needs that are arising. We will continue to evolve our work to reflect what we see as the most pressing needs facing Israel and the Jewish people.

What about global Jewish life?

We see great importance in promoting innovation in Jewish life—that hasn't changed. However, in light of the unprecedented challenges that Israel and the Jewish people face today, when it comes to global Jewish life, we are narrowing our focus to two sub-fields:

  1. Combating contemporary antisemitism and anti-Zionism, and
  2. Highlighting the diverse mosaic of Israeli society to global audiences, battling disinformation and biases, and enhancing international support for Israel.

While we remain committed to and passionate about innovation in Jewish life broadly, this field is not within our focus areas. Beginning in April, we are looking to support ROIers leading innovation in our three impact fields.

What if I generate social impact, but not in ROI's three fields?

There will be many opportunities to engage with the network (for example, through Igniter-led events). However, our new micro funding and impact programs are designed to support ROIers who are creating social impact in our three chosen fields.

How will the change in micro funding criteria affect the application process?

Our new micro funding applications place more emphasis on the feasibility of your plans. You will be required to show that you have clearly defined goals; measurable objectives (and methods to keep track of them); and logical timelines and benchmarks. Potential for scalability and continuity are a plus, as are additional partners/funding sources.

How do these updates connect to Schusterman’s recent announcement that it is winding down the REALITY and Schusterman Fellowship programs?

Schusterman Family Philanthropies is steadfastly committed to our mission to invest in building more just and inclusive societies in the U.S. and Israel. We believe we can make the most impact and add the most value as a grantmaker by investing in the expertise in the fields we support. In the U.S., we are transitioning away from operating programs that directly engage individuals—REALITY and the Schusterman Fellowship—to fully focus our resources on our grantmaking that invests in organizations in six core issues areas. We will continue to invest significantly in Israel travel and leadership development experiences through our U.S. Jewish grantmaking portfolio. You can read the full announcement here.
In Israel, we are ever more committed to our grantmaking aimed at strengthening Israel as a secure homeland for the Jewish people, a thriving democracy and an inclusive society that cares for its most vulnerable. Given the significant challenges Israel is facing, ROI is narrowing its focus to more deeply connect with and support our Israel-related grantmaking priorities and post-October 7 relief and recovery efforts.