NIF At A Glance
The New Israel Fund is the leading organization committed to democratic change within Israel.
For twenty-eight years, NIF has fought for social justice and equality for all Israelis. We believe that Israel can live up to its founders' vision of a state that ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, without regard to religion, race or gender.
Widely credited with building Israel's progressive civil society from scratch, we have provided more than $200 million to more than 800 cutting-edge organizations since our inception. Through our action arm, SHATIL, we mentor, train and lead Israeli civil society in an ongoing struggle to empower the underprivileged. We fight inequality, injustice and extremism because we understand that justice is the precondition for a successful democracy – and the only lasting road to peace.
The NIF family has achieved precedent-setting legislative and court victories, as well as placed critical social issues on Israel's public agenda. Unlike other foundations, we fund activists and advocacy, on the premise that assisting people fighting for their own rights is the best guarantee of a democratic and equitable society. NIF grantees work in three core areas:
- Civil and Human Rights: NIF’s mission is simply to advance equality for all Israelis. Flagship NIF grantees such as B’Tselem and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel have won court battles on issues ranging from the prohibition of torture in civilian interrogations to changes in the route of the separation fence to respect humanitarian concerns. Other grantees work on issues ranging from land use to women’s, LGBT and minority rights. More and more, we build and lead coalitions that challenge Israel’s elites, from the Supreme Court to the Knesset to local municipalities.
- Social and Economic Justice: As a nation with many disadvantaged minority groups, from citizen Arabs to Ethiopians to Mizrachim, Israel has a special responsibility to uphold its founders’ vision and traditional Jewish values of fairness and equity. From the poor Bedouin of the Negev to the neglected development towns, the NIF family organizes the underprivileged to gain their rights and make their voices heard. Most recently, NIF grantees have defeated a punitive national welfare-to-work plan and organized civil society in the North to demand fair compensation for the ravages of the Second Lebanon War.
- Religious Pluralism and Tolerance: NIF has long been a principal supporter of a pluralistic and tolerant Israeli culture that includes diverse approaches to Judaism and Jewish identity. NIF works to challenge the Orthodox monopoly on religious observance and establish civil law and respect for secular, Reform, Conservative and other Jews in Israel. We are winning incremental victories on conversion, civil marriage and other lifecycle issues, as well as empowering Orthodox women to achieve equality within their communities.
Through SHATIL, the Empowerment and Training Center for Social Change Organizations, NIF provides grantees and other social change organizations hands-on assistance and training in the basics of nonprofit management. Widely regarded as one of the world's most successful capacity-building organizations, and now formally recognized by the U.N., SHATIL regularly originates, discovers and disseminates best practices to Israel's growing NGO sector.
The New Israel Fund also partners with other philanthropists in joint initiatives, including a multiyear program funded by the Ford Foundation to promote peace and social justice in Israel. Another joint program, the Green Environment Fund, is the first funding collaboration in Israel to protect and preserve the environment. NIF is also partnering with another U.S. foundation and with the Joint Distribution Committee to advance infrastructure development for the Negev Bedouin, and participates in the U.S.-based Task Force on Israeli Arab issues.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, the New Israel Fund employs 35 people in the United States, Canada and the UK as well as more than 100 staffers in seven Israeli offices. For more information, visit www.nif.org or contact the New Israel Fund at 1-202-842-0900.
The New Israel Fund embodies the best values upon which Israel was founded, and works to build the Israel you know to be possible.