The Hadassah Foundation, which invests in social change to empower girls and women in Israel and the United States, is excited to announce it has given $365,000 in grants to 21 Israeli organizations that enhance economic opportunities for women in Israel.


The Foundation is a philanthropic pioneer in the fields of improving economic security for low-income Israeli women and developing leadership and self-esteem programs for adolescent Jewish girls and young women in the United States. Since 2000, approximately $7.1 million has been awarded to more than 80 nonprofit organizations.


Last year, the Foundation made grants totaling $450,000—it awarded $300,000 to 20 Israeli organizations which work to support Israeli women from all walks of life, as well as $150,000 to five organizations in the United States as part of its initiative to strengthen leadership development opportunities for young Jewish women.


Suzanne Offit, Chair of the Foundation, said, “We are proud to partner with such outstanding organizations that are making a real difference in the lives of Israeli women.”


In addition to five first-time grantees, the Foundation also awarded “sustaining” grants for the fourth consecutive year. These grants provide general operating support to four long-term grantees that have played a particularly critical role in promoting the economic security of women in Israel.


The 2016 grants were awarded to the following organizations: 


Legal Aid


  • Bar Ilan University, The Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center, $5,000 (Sustaining Grant): Provides legal counsel to women seeking a divorce. It works proactively to improve policy and practice by educating future family lawyers to safeguard women’s rights and advocating for changes in Israeli family law.


  • Center for Women’s Justice, $5,000 (Sustaining Grant): Pursues precedent-setting litigation and legal advocacy on behalf of women who have suffered unjust treatment, discrimination, or whose basic human rights have been infringed upon when seeking a divorce.


  • Itach-Maaki—Women Lawyers for Social Justice, $5,000 (Sustaining Grant): Public interest law organization working on behalf of low-income Israeli women. Itach helps women to file employment-related lawsuits and form peer support groups and educates the public about issues affecting women. 


Policy Education and Coalition Building


  • Isha L’Isha, $15,000:  For an advocacy project that has two goals: to change laws and policies so as to increase the participation and success rate of women-owned businesses in tenders issued by the Haifa Municipality, and to advocate for the direct employment of women in custodial jobs for that municipality, rather than employing them as contractors through an outside employment agency, as is currently the case. 


  • New Israel Fund, Shatil, $15,000: Through the Promoting Equal Employment Opportunities for Female Subcontracted Workers program, Shatil will engage in media campaigns, lobbying and grassroots efforts to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of women employed indirectly throughout Israel—70% of all contract workers are female–are granted full and equal employment opportunities.


  • Yedid, $8,000: Single Mothers for Change project aims to provide greater economic security for low-income single mothers. Working with a network of more than 800 low-income single female parents, YEDID will educate and advocate for public policies to improve the economic security of single parents and their children, focusing specifically on Israel’s child-support law.


Workplace Discrimination


  • The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, $25,000: Enhancing Security in the Workplace project will enable it to implement an anti-sexual harassment code at several leading Israeli employers, with the goal of making this a model program for other Israeli workplaces.


  • Merchavim, $15,000: Merchavim’s Arab Teacher Integration in Jewish Schools Initiative places Arab Israelis trained as teachers—the vast majority of whom are female—in Jewish Israeli schools. This program aims to reduce the high level of unemployment of female teachers in the Arab sector, address a shortage of teachers in Jewish Israeli schools, and promote intergroup relations.



Employment Conditions of Low-Income Women


  • Kav LaOved—Worker’s Hotline, $15,000: Kav LaOved received funds to improve working Arab women's employment and living conditions in the Nazareth region by providing individual legal assistance and consultations and offering workshops and distributing information to its target population. The program focus on women who are not being paid the legal minimum wage, as well as those employed in education, the largest single sector that employs Arab women.


  • Workers’ Advice Center—Ma’an, $25,000: Arab Women in Agriculture program enables Arab Israeli women who live in the periphery to take on agricultural work under improved circumstances—including guaranteed (and properly documented) pay at at least the legal minimum wage.



Asset Building


  • Economic Empowerment for Women, $5,000 (Sustaining Grant): Promotes asset development among low-income women who manage microenterprises, based on the U.S. model of the Individual Development Account. 


Business Training & Entrepreneurship


  • Latet, $25,000: The program Latet Atid (“to give a future”) helps women with incomes near the poverty line create or expand micro businesses. It provides business training to these burgeoning entrepreneurs while also giving them access to microloans, as part of an arrangement it has with Leumi Bank. 


  • Microfy, $18,000: Microfy, which works with women in South Tel Aviv to develop their own businesses, received a grant to create a women’s business forum for nascent business owners, particularly those who have never run a business before and who lack access to many traditional business resources.           


  • PresenTense, $24,000: PresenTense received funds for its Yazamiot Venture Accelerator, an eight-month program that will train 15-20 ultra-Orthodox women entrepreneurs to launch small or social businesses, or grow existing ones.


Vocational Training and Job Placement


  • The Israel Women’s Network, $25,000: Towards Integrating Women in the Male Trades project aims to close the gender gap which exists in the Israeli workforce in general, and in mid-level professional trades in particular, by integrating women into positions typically defined as “male trades,” such as electricians, carpenters, drivers, and more.


  • The National Council of Jewish Women Research Institute for Innovation in Education at Hebrew University, $25,000: Training Haredi Women for the Workforce as Educators in the Pre-School Sector program will enable these women to bring much-needed income into their large, lower-income homes.


  • Turning the Tables, $20,000: This organization trains women who are attempting to exit prostitution for jobs in the fashion sector.       


  • Tishreen, $25,000: Tishreen, working with Na’amat, and local governmental and non-profit partners, will prepare 25 Arab Israeli women from the Southern Triangle region to enter the job market. 


  • Women’s Spirit, $15,000: Women’s Spirit received support for Seeds of Growth, their core program, which will provide 400 women victims of violence of prime working age (20-60) with tools and support to reintegrate successfully in the employment world and achieve financial independence.


Leadership Development


  • Jasmine, $25,000:  Jasmine received funds for its Izun (Balance) Project, which will train 20 female Israeli business leaders to serve as board members on corporate, public, and non -profit boards.


  • WEPOWER, $25,000: Nonpartisan organization that works with women who are considering a run for public office, as well as train those who have already been elected.  WEPOWER received funds for two programs in the Galilee region: its "ATIDOT" (women of the future) program will train younger women leaders for political leadership, and its "Women for Future Leadership" program will train more experienced women who are active in their community to take on leadership roles in their locality.