Digital Shmita is one of four projects that received 2015 Natan Grants for ROI Entrepreneurs.
A digital Shmita project, Israel’s version of the radio show This American Life, a global initiative promoting tourism to Jewish communities and a foundation supporting Israel Defence Forces soldiers who served in the Yahalom unit were all awarded 2015 Natan Grants for ROI Entrepreneurs.
In late January, the Natan Fund, a giving circle for young professionals, issued its third annual round of dedicated grants for ROI Entrepreneurs, totaling $40,000, to four ROI (“return on investment”) Community members from the United States, Israel and Latin America. These grants will kickstart projects that invite young Jews and the broader community to explore and experience diverse and creative ways of bringing Jewish values and culture into their lives.
The partnership between Natan and ROI Community was formed to connect Natan Fund’s young philanthropists with ROI members who have developed cutting-edge projects to deepen global Jewish engagement. The recipients of the 2015 Natan Grants for ROI Entrepreneurs are:
Digital Shmita (Israel): Digital Shmita is taking the idea of Shmita (Fallow) to the internet. Digital Shmita works in collaboration with Labshul’s FallowLab and the Print Screen Festival for digital culture in Israel. Its ultimate goal is to produce free solutions that will allow everyone to experience Shmita in their daily connected lives. fallowlab.com/digitalshmita.
Israel Story/Sippur Israeli (United States and Israel): Israel Story is a new radio program dedicated to telling the story of a different, diverse Israel. Modeled after National Public Radio’s This American Life, this show seeks to portray the intricacies of Israeli society and showcase its plurality. It seeks to amplify and humanize voices that are rarely heard on the airwaves; to tell long-form, non-fiction tales by, and about, regular Israelis. israelstory.org.
Judaic Tourism (Latin America): Judaic Tourism is a project that works to strengthen Jewish identity through the preservation and enhancement of Jewish heritage. It connects people with history, culture and Jewish life in cities around the world, promoting tourism to Jewish sites and communities and connecting visitors to local Jewish culture. turismojudaico.com.
Yahalom Foundation (Israel): The Yahalom Foundation will be the first nonprofit organization benefiting current and former soldiers of Yahalom, a special forces combat engineering unit in the IDF. The foundation is dedicated to supporting Yahalom commandos during their active-duty service and afterwards, during their reserve duty. amplifiergiving.org/organization/131/yahalom-foundation.
The work of these ROI activists and entrepreneurs dovetails with the Natan Fund’s mission (natan.org) to provide early-stage funding for creative approaches that seek to address some of the central challenges facing the Jewish people and Israel. Among Natan’s goals is to create new access points to Jewish life, especially for younger Jews who are less engaged with existing communal organizations. Its members pool their charitable contributions, set the philanthropic strategy and agenda for the foundation, and allocate funds to organizations that are building new visions for the Jewish people and the state of Israel.
Founded in 2006, ROI Community (roicommunity.org) is part of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, a global organization that encourages young people to create positive change for themselves, the Jewish community and the broader world. ROI Community members channel a diversity of perspectives, skills and interests toward a shared passion for advancing ideas and partnerships that will strengthen Jewish communities and improve society.