Our family’s passion for sustaining the viability and success of Israel began in the 1950s, with Joe Meyerhoff’s support for the creation of the State. In its early growth as a nation, Israel’s physical and infrastructure needs were paramount. The family invested in schools and libraries to build the State. As Israel has evolved, its needs, and our contributions, have changed.
After 18 months of rigorous planning that began in 2016, we restructured our Israel portfolio. We now focus on enhancing the social fabric of society and Israel’s growth as a Jewish and democratic state. Multi-sector partnerships that bring together non-profits, businesses, and government agencies are crucial. We affirm our long-standing commitment to Israel through our current priorities:
- civil and shared society throughout the country,
- young communities in the geographic periphery,
- refurbishment and renovation of our existing capital projects, and
- an unrestricted grant through The Associated (our local Federation) allocated through a community planning process to Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Civil and Shared Society
We, as a Jewish people, have a responsibility to work toward creating a civil and shared society in Israel. There is a sense that just and democratic processes are endangered. Israel’s multi-cultural and ethnic society is becoming less tolerant resulting in fractures and tensions in all sectors including State response to issues. It is easier to find a common enemy than common good. This tension is undoubtedly enflamed by economic anxiety and the politics of fear.
Further complicating circumstances is the increase in overt racism over the past decade. Such language is alienating and prevents groups from coming together. Programs that allow people with different views to work together on controversial topics are crucial for civil and shared society.
For these reasons, we focus on umbrella organizations that are strengthening the preservation of a just and democratic state for all citizens. We also support grassroots organizations whose on-the-ground efforts reinforce these ideals. These organizations include:
- Sikkuy – a shared Jewish and Arab organization whose efforts focus on full equity at all levels.
- Living Together – a joint effort of the diverse sectors of Israeli society who come together to find workable solutions that preserve the individuality of each community.
- ANU – a social activism platform targeting Israel’s most pressing social issues.
- Israel Hofsheet – a grassroots organization working to uphold civil rights and democratic principles through public pressure on decision makers.
- The Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) – an independent and non-partisan human rights organization addressing the broad spectrum of civil rights issues for all.
Young Communities in the Geographic Periphery
We support young communities in the geographic periphery in a variety of ways. All of our efforts are focused on improving the quality of life for those outside the center of Israel. Nurturing young communities and activists can have a deep impact not only on the periphery but the nation as a whole.
Our investments in young communities improve quality of life outside the center of Israel. Young adult activists are choosing to live and work together to create change. NGOs help sustain many of these efforts and provide wide-ranging assistance to these communities.
Examples of our investments include:
- Eretz Ir – an Israeli nonprofit dedicated to creating cities with involved residents who take personal and collective responsibility for creating community-based solutions to local challenges.
- Shahaf Foundation – a funding collaborative that supports a national movement of young communities leading long-term social and educational change and serving as a model of community values in Israeli society.
Existing Capital Projects
To date, we have invested in over 80 capital projects and more than 50 institutions. In urban areas and in the periphery, projects have included libraries, theaters, day care centers, museums, playgrounds, universities, and parks. We created the Capital Refurbishment and Renovation Fund in 2017 to provide additional support for buildings and spaces bearing the Meyerhoff name. By prioritizing these resources, we help these projects to continue to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Recent projects include:
- Improving daycares,
- Shading playgrounds,
- Upgrading sports and recreation facilities,
- Updating libraries, and
- Refurbishing academic facilities.
Left Banner: Jerusalem at night
Right Banner: Photo of the Beer Sheva Theatre courtesy of the Beer Sheva Municipality.