At the Good People Fund, we mentor and support grassroots community-based organizations led by visionaries who respond in creative ways to address society’s most intractable problems whether its focus be as insurmountable as hunger or as defined as supporting women leaving forced or arranged marriages. Since our inception in 2008, we have granted more than 5.3 million dollars to more than 60 nonprofit organizations in Israel.
In each case the individual or small group’s actions inspire others to join their work to effect change. To date, we have been able to provide more than $8,000,000 in grants to more than 150 nonprofit organizations based primarily in the United States and Israel. For the recently concluded 2015/2016 fiscal year grants of nearly $1,500,000 were made to programs based in those countries.
Highlights of the grants made in Israel this past fiscal year include; $335,000 for organizations focused on kids including Kaima, a program that utilizes sustainable organic farming to help young people who cannot learn in traditional environments and S.A.H.I. an organization that embraces compassion and giving as tools to help youth-at-risk; $123,000 to organizations that alleviate hunger such as Pesia’s Kitchen in Tel Aviv which distributes quite literally tons of donated food and fresh produce; $81,000 to IDF-related organizations like Tzvika Levy’s Lone Soldier Program; $58,000 to organizations helping to ease poverty including Ten Gav, a unique crowd-funding platform that assists social workers as they manage the needs of Israel’s most vulnerable citizens; $45,000 to organizations that promote women’s empowerment including Yotsrot which trains women, exiting the cycle of abuse and prostitution, for fashion-related careers and Ba’asher Teichi which supports Haredi women navigating the divorce process; $55,000 for organizations that offer alternative healing, like HAMA Israel’s animal-assisted therapy program that reduces emotional pain in varied situations; and $8,800 to organizations like In Their Shoes which creates awareness and understanding of dementia and aging.
Project Kruvit is our most recent Israeli grantee. Inspired by Dr. Ravit Hilleli when she was only a teen, this all-volunteer program prepares and distributes high quality meals to thousands of people for Passover, Shavout and Rosh Hashanah; a logistical challenge that involves an army of volunteers (about 8,000) who cook, shop, and deliver meals during a 48-hour period immediately before the chaggim (holidays) begin.
Highlights of the Fund’s U.S. grant recipients include; $51,000 to organizations that address the needs of children including Atlanta’s Creating Connected Communities that trains local teens in leadership skills with a special focus on homelessness and advocacy and connects them to meaningful volunteer opportunities with disadvantaged kids; $38,000 to organizations like Boston-based Courageous Parents Network that empowers parents to care for children with serious illnesses by maintaining up-to-date virtual community resources; and $18,000 to organizations focused on alternative healing such as Shelter Music Boston that performs live classical chamber music for displaced shelter residents who might not otherwise have the financial means or opportunity to experience music and its healing powers in less-accessible venues. Other grants were directed towards programs focused on eldercare, hunger, women’s empowerment, poverty and veterans.
One of our most important goals is to give visibility and recognition to these nascent efforts so that others will join us in helping to support their work. We know that with the right amount of fiscal support and mentoring these small efforts can flourish. With this in mind we continue our commitment to seek out these inspiring individuals and their good work and invest in their growth and success.
Naomi Eisenberger is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Good People Fund, based in Millburn, New Jersey. For the past decade, she has drawn on her extensive business and nonprofit experience to help grantees build their own successful nonprofit organizations.