UK-Israel charity UJIA has launched “a new way of giving” to entice would-be donors, offering investments in Israeli projects with a social impact.
The scheme, which has already been piloted, offers a financial return on investments in the hope this attracts “new donors who are seeking a modern and innovative approach to engaging with Israel”.
The initiative, called Si3 (Social Impact Investment Initiative), is led be a UK committee headed by The Met Group’s Danny Kessler, as is described as “a cutting edge approach to philanthropy in Israel, providing an alternative method to driving social change away from traditional grant giving”.
The fund will help grow UJIA’s existing support, with organisers saying it would “leverage every philanthropic pound to go much further and to enable UJIA to scale its ability to achieve its social mission in Israel”.
Among the projects identified are Kishorit, which is modelled on a kibbutz and supports adults with difficulties find profitable employment. Opportunities include an organic goat’s cheese dairy, a wooden toy workshop, a dog breeding centre and a TV production studio.
UJIA and the Portland Trust helped set up the Koret Small-Medium Enterprise Loan Scheme in northern Israel in 2006. It acts as a guarantor to small businesses allowing them to take out loans, with more than 10,000 jobs created as a result. UJIA’s original set-up funding of $500,000 is due to be repaid in full by 2019.
Si3 committee members now have sought out Israeli start-ups, with requests for proposals issued in Hebrew, Arabic and English across Israel. More than 70 proposals have been received, and the group is now currently short-listing them.
Kessler said: “This kind of charitable donation will offer diverse and viable opportunities for a new kind of donor to engage with Israel and to advance sustainable solutions to some of Israel’s most vulnerable communities.”
Social impact investment consultant Dalia Black said Si3 “uses a model of returnable financing – each pound can be reinvested to enable scalable solutions to improve education, employment and community development in Israel”.