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Social Venture Fund


Promoting equality in education is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty, bridging economic and social gaps and ultimately, creating a shared society. Educational gaps between Israeli Jews and Arabs are evident from early childhood through higher education. Inequalities in education manifest in unequal allocation of budgets, lack of sufficient classrooms, laboratories or sports facilities, dropout rates, education achievements (matriculation rates) and funds for special education. It is widely agreed that education performance affects all components of quality of life and society including income, health, crime and GDP.

This inequality weighs heavily on the entire Israeli society.

According to the Israeli Authority for Economic Development, the weakness of the formal education system and the absence of an informal education system are the main factors leading to inadequate integration of Israeli Arabs into the workforce, and lower acceptance rates into the higher education system.

Within the area of education, the SVF supports programs and initiatives within Arab communities that promote educational opportunity and success for young adults. Programs focus on early childhood education, joint educational programs, high-school graduation rates, volunteerism and leadership development, shared life education, and access to higher education opportunities.

Current Grantees

Academic College of Tel Hai
The Center for Peace and Democracy
The Center for Peace and Democracy at the College of Tel Hai works to advance equality of opportunity for Arab students through Hebrew Language courses, student mentoring and emotional support, Arab-Jewish dialogue courses, cultural activities on campus and research studies devoted to education, conflict resolution and peace education. 

NEW: The Abraham Fund Initiatives (TAFI)
Spoken Hebrew as a Cultural Bridge in Israel’s Arab Elementary School System
TAFI advances coexistence, equality and cooperation among Israel’s Jewish and Arab populations. Through this program, Jewish teachers will be integrated into 5-6th grade classes in 10 Arab schools to provide an additional Hebrew lesson per week designed to improve spoken Hebrew and to help Arab, Hebrew language teachers to improve Hebrew language instruction.    

The Center for Educational Technology (CET)
Shared Life Training Programs for Jewish and Arab Teachers
CET is Israel’s leading organization involved in the development and implementation of educational content, advanced technologies, next generation learning products, services and programs to advance Israel’s education system. The Shared Life Training Program trains 100 Jewish and Arab civics and media teachers, social education coordinators, home room teachers and Arabic and Hebrew literature teachers in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Ramla, Tel Aviv and the central district. These areas were identified in consultation with the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the district supervisors. CET has produced 10 video portraits that are being utilized in classroom settings to stimulate discussion around issues such as treating “others” with respect. The program has helped to institutionalize and mainstream shared life training as proven through increased MOE support. CET plans to train 50 teachers to lead joint learning initiatives among students in 8 schools (4 partnerships) in core curriculum topics including math, Hebrew, English and Arabic and they also plan to develop three courses for 5th and 6th grade teachers to be implemented with 500 students. 

The Center for Educational Technology (CET)
Joint Shared Life Training Programs for Arab and Jewish School Principals
The Joint Shared Life Training Program for Principals brings together 24 Jewish and Arab principals from elementary, middle and high schools in the mixed city of Ramla on a monthly basis to address issues of racism and create a culture of tolerance and respect in schools. They plan joint projects using music, arts and tutoring and engage in facilitated dialogue. The program prepares principals to become change agents and transform the culture in their schools and communities. The City of Ramla won the national education prize for this program. Now entering its third year, the principals have significantly deeper knowledge and mutual understanding that motivates them to try new methodologies for fostering shared life education. Principals participate in joint workshops to share best practices, learn from international experts on the shared education model and train principals on CET-developed resource materials like the video portraits. The principals will participate in a 2-day seminar to nurture discussion and joint action on shared life education and appreciation of diversity.

NEW: The Center for Educational Technology (CET) and Merchavim
Amplifying Arab Teacher Integration through On-Line Training, Resources and Support 
This project leverages the impact of the Arab teacher integration program through the development and maintenance of an online environment for new and veteran Arab teachers in Jewish schools. The goal of the online platform is to provide access to resources and mutual sharing with facilitators to empower teachers to become ambassadors in their schools. CET will operate the online platform and Merchavim will provide educational expertise to support this effort.

NEW: Desert Stars
Wilderness Education Program- Discovering the Shepherd Within 
Desert Stars was established to nurture a new leadership generation within the Bedouin society who will take responsibility for the creation of a better, more just and more equal society and facilitate a productive coexistence in the Negev. This intensive leadership development incubator program is designed to produce a cohort of male Bedouin leaders who will be role models within their communities. One hundred high school students will benefit from leadership development programming in year one, and 25 Bedouin male high school graduates will spend a residence year at Kibbutz Nitzanim for intense leadership development, mentoring, community volunteering, and academic preparation at Ben-Gurion University to help them pursue academic and professional goals.

NEW: Givat Haviva
Hebrew Language Enrichment Program for Arab Middle Schools 
Givat Haviva is dedicated to promoting mutual responsibility, civic equality and cooperation between divided groups in Israel as the foundation for building a shared future and shared society. This program will develop and implement a Hebrew instruction program for students in 7-9th grade classes in Arab schools across the country including 30 weekly sessions throughout the school year to improve conversational Hebrew. The program will include facilitated meetings between the students and well-known figures in Jewish-Israeli culture, business and local/national government. Jewish Hebrew language teachers will provide an additional Hebrew language class per week to enhance spoken Hebrew and to help Arab, Hebrew language teachers improve their Hebrew language instruction in 15 Arab schools. This pilot program is supported by the Ministry of Education.

MERCHAVIM: The Institute for the Advancement of Shared Citizenship in Israel
500 Teacher Integration Program
MERCHAVIM's mission is to help Israel’s 7.5 million citizens to live together better by learning about each other, valuing diversity, developing a shared civic awareness and cooperating to make their classrooms, communities and Israeli society as a whole, fairer and more cohesive. The 500 Teacher Integration Program, recently adopted by the Ministry of Education as a national model along with budget commitments towards teaching and incentive hours, works to integrate 500 Arab teachers teaching math, science, and English over the next 5-7 years. The initiative will provide employment to hundreds of unemployed teachers who are important and positive role models in schools furthering the goals of creating a shared society based on mutual respect.

Merkaz Ma'ase
Volunteer Year for Israeli Arab Youth Ages 18-21 in the Israeli Arab Periphery
Ma’ase works to broaden the accessibility of volunteering service and leadership activity to youth all over the state of Israel; to create optimal professional frameworks for over 700 volunteers who take part in the year-long community service; and to have national influence on the volunteering service – through cooperative relationships with youth movements, social organizations and government offices. The Ofek Volunteer Year Program for Israeli Arab youth is performed in volunteer’s local communities and consists of long term, professional volunteering in the fields of formal and informal education, developing personal and leadership skills, improving scholastic achievements and defining future academic and career goals and ambitions. In 2014-2015, more than 200 volunteers will benefit from professional and leadership development which includes Hebrew Language skills, psychometric test preparation, career orientation, leadership development and shared encounters. This year, Ma’ase will pilot two new volunteer year programs in Bedouin towns in the Negev.

Sami Shamoon College of Engineering
100 Bedouin Engineers Program
The Sami Shamoon College of Engineering (SCE) is the largest engineering college in Israel, and is Israel's fastest growing academic college, with 3,000 students. The College's vision focuses on practical engineering training with an eye toward global industrial developments and the Israeli economy. The 100 Bedouin Engineers Program is planning to have over 150 Bedouin engineering students this year, 30% of whom are women, far exceeding their 5 year goal of 100 Bedouin engineers. Students get stipends and grants, academic and social supports, and they tutor Jewish and Bedouin high school students. The program includes a preparatory course, plus 4 years of study, workshops and individual counseling to prepare 3rd and 4th year students for their job searches and workforce integration. The SVF grant supports tuition, academic and social assistance, stipends and travel expenses.

NEW: The Van Leer Institute Jerusalem
The Israeli Academic Sphere as a Shared Social Arena 
The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute is a leading intellectual center for the interdisciplinary study and discussion of issues related to philosophy, society, culture and education. This project will support the creation of an ongoing forum of 90-100 professional academic coordinators at universities and colleges for mutual exchange and synergy around building shared campuses. The forum will meet quarterly and visit campuses to share best practices to address the cultural and social aspects of absorbing Arab students, faculty and administrative staff, in order to build the best models of intervention for creating shared campuses. This 3-year program is a priority for the Government of Israel’s Council of Higher Education (MALAG), and augments their strategic plan by building the capacity of academic coordinators to address barriers and integrate Arab students into academic and social campus life.


Past Grantees

Open University of Israel
Creating Conditions for Success
The Open University is very committed to diversity and provides customized support to facilitate academic success. The Creating Conditions for Success Program offers a basket of assistance to first year Arab students including. Hebrew Language, Study Skills, Library Research, etc. and students can do their assignments in Arabic for the first 6 months. The Employment-Aimed Academic Initiative Targeting Arab Students is part of the university’s extension of its “Project 100” pilot program. SVF supports tuition and living stipends for Arab students studying in the Economics and Management Track and other disciplines in the Creating Conditions for Success Program.

The Abraham Fund Initiatives (TAFI)
Contemporary Jewish-Hebrew Cultural Activities in Arab Schools
TAFI advances coexistence, equality and cooperation among Israel’s Jewish and Arab populations. The Contemporary Jewish-Hebrew Cultural Activities program introduces Jewish cultural activities including Jewish holidays, music and film into 5th and 6th grade classes in 18 schools in the North with the goal of increasing appreciation of Jewish culture, and providing meaningful opportunities for joint projects between Jewish and Arab schools.

Alnuhud: The Association for the Promotion of Bedouin Woman's Education in the Negev
The Pre-Academic Project
Alnuhud promotes general and higher education among Bedouin women, the rights of women to education in the Bedouin community and the government's commitment to promote and support for Bedouin women's education. The Pre-Academic Project works to increase the number of Bedouin women who graduate from high school with a full diploma, and to increase the number of Bedouin women entering academia, by providing academic tutoring, mentoring and social assistance to Bedouin students in 10th through 12th grades.

American Joint Distribution Committee - Israel and the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
Promoting Professional Leadership Development in the Early Childhood Field
The Professional Leadership Development Program is a partnership between JDC - Ashalim, the Association for Planning and Development of Services for Children and Youth at Risk and their Families, and the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. The Program provides 19 promising Israeli-Arab professionals in the early childhood field with a summer preparatory course at the Hebrew University, in addition to critical academic reinforcement, mentorship and scholarship assistance towards their Master’s Degree in an Early Childhood Education at the Hebrew University’s prestigious Schwartz Graduate Program. The long term goal is to ensure that Israeli Arab communities will benefit from an influx of graduate level professionals with advanced academic qualifications and field experience who will be able to transform the field of early childhood education.

Arab Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation (AJEEC) – Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development (NISPED) -- AJEEC-NISPED
The Arab-Jewish Community Volunteer Year Program
AJEEC-NISPED promotes peace and development and the centrality of civil society in Israel through education and training, project development, consultation and networking. The Arab-Jewish Community Volunteer Year Program is a five-year SVF grantee which works with 36 volunteers each year, half Jewish (from the Scouts movement) and half Bedouin. The program brings together Bedouin and Jewish high school graduates to work together in Bedouin and Jewish schools for a year-long, joint community volunteer program. Volunteers provide educational support and social enrichment to elementary and middle schools students and hospitalized children. The goal of the program is to make a significant contribution to the development of a pluralistic, just, civil society in Israel and to promote cooperation and understanding between Jews and Arab citizens of Israel.

The Center for Educational Technology (CET)
Development, Training and Implementation of “Arab Labor” Online Educational Kit 
CET will develop, train and disseminate an online educational kit utilizing clips from the TV show, Arab Labor. The first year of the two-year grant was devoted to developing a framework, identifying the clips and producing age-appropriate materials for the Jewish and Arab schools. The second year of the grant is for teacher training and dissemination of the kit online for use by all educators. The training will include materials and courses for educators including Jewish and Arab teachers, principals, social activity coordinators and shared citizenship programs in middle and high schools to promote shared society and address controversial issues in classroom settings.

Rashi Foundation – Yeholot Association
Tafnit-Last Hurdle for Matriculation Program
Rashi’s mission is to assist the underprivileged in Israel, focusing on the younger generations and special-needs populations, helping them reach their true potential and become productive, contributing members of society. Tafnit (Hebrew for "turnaround") aims to close the educational gap between underachievers and their classmates, and to reduce the disparity between low-performing schools in weak communities and schools in the center of the country. Tafnit targets 10th-12th grade students failing in one subject, and provides them with tutoring, study skills and mentoring to overcome their obstacle subject and achieve a full matriculation diploma. At the same time, Tafnit gives principals and teachers valuable tools to assist all their students fulfill their potential.

Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education for Equality and Hagar: Jewish-Arab Education for Creating a Coalition for Bilingual Education in Israel
HAGAR: Jewish-Arab Education for Equalityis a spring-board for social change through its bilingual, multicultural day care centers, school and community programming based in Beersheva. Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel is a network of five integrated, bilingual schools combining peace education and top academic standards. Currently seven Jewish-Arab bilingual schools exist throughout Israel. (Hagar, Neve Shalom and Hand in Hand Schools in Jerusalem, Kfar Kara, the Galilee, Haifa and Jaffa). The Bilingual Education Principals’ Coalition brings together the senior staff of bilingual educational frameworks to learn from each other, share issues and insights, and develop concepts and methodologies together in the field of bilingual education. The Bilingual Education Curriculum Development Forum is comprised of pedagogical coordinators and experts from each school which will produce, publish, implement and evaluate a fully developed curricular module in religious and cultural heritage and other subjects.

Step Forward for the Promotion of Education in Rahat
Community Creating Change for Youth in Rahat
Step Forward strives to empower the Israeli Bedouin population in the city of Rahat and improve its social and economic status by providing better educational opportunities for children and youth, economic independence to Bedouin women, and community-ownership. Community Creating Change for Youth in Rahat targets Bedouin high school students and promotes access to higher education opportunities through college guidance counseling, college fairs and tours, and educational enrichment programming.

Citizens Build a Community
Arab Community Service Project
Citizens Build a Community creates an active civil society in the mixed city of Lod, which suffers from ethnic friction, poverty and lack of social empowerment. Citizens Build a Community establishes neighborhood youth centers, empowers local residents, and develops local leadership.


Capacity-Building Grantees

Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli-Arab Issues
The Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues generates awareness among the North American Jewish and Israeli public in order to advance civic equality in Israel, as outlined by Israel's founders.

Shatil, the New Israel Fund
Capacity-building support for select grantees
Shatil, the New Israel Fund's empowerment and training center, promotes democracy, tolerance, and social justice in Israel. Israel's leading capacity-building center for social change organizations, Shatil provides non-profit organizations with consulting and training in organizational development, media and public relations, advocacy, resource development, coalition building, and volunteer management each year.