Non-profit organizations from around the country gathered in Tel Aviv on Tuesday for the Amuta21C conference, the annual social sector summit.
The conference, in its fourth year, brings together experts from the business, government, philanthropy and nonprofit sectors to impart their knowledge to Israel-based non-profit organizations.
“We want the social sector to be more respected, to be full partners in business and government and in decision and policy and the way society is shaped,” Shoshana Jaskoll, founder and co-producer of Amuta21C told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Jaskoll, who is a partner at Reach3K, a branding and communication firm, attended a similar conference for non-profit organizations in the United States a few years ago, when one of her partners said, "We need to bring this to Israel!"
She partnered with Jonny Cline, CEO of UNICEF Israel, and together the two adapted the conference to cater to the Israeli social sector.
“We have three goals,” Jaskoll said, “the first is for each amuta to follow the best practices and learn about the tools and opportunities available to them.”
“[At the conference] we have conversations of CEOs and philanthropists sitting down in the same room and we are giving them the opportunity to ask the questions they want to ask and get the answers they want answered – and this is a huge opportunity,” Jaskoll said.
The second aims to create a community within the social sector and provide networking and collaboration opportunities.
Cline said: “It is time for the social sector to start acting like a group of organizations with a common denominator and not individual organizations competing for funds.”
Finally, the conference aims to break down the barriers between the social sector and business and government.
“We are stuck in a paradigm where the third sector sees the business sector as donors and the business sector doesn’t see the social sector as a viable partner,” Cline said. “We are trying to change that by firing the first shot.”
Jaskol said: “At the end of the day we are trying to re-brand the social sector.”
This year’s conference was sponsored in part by leading philanthropies including the Genesis Philanthropy Group, the Ruderman Family Foundation and the Schusterman Family Foundation, placing a special emphasis on promoting inclusion within the third sector.
“We decided to participate in the conference to make better connections with the NGOs on the ground because there is a feeling that the philanthropies are on one side of the ocean and the organizations on the other and we wanted to make a statement that this is not the case,” said Shira Ruderman, the Israel director of the Ruderman Family Foundation.
According to Ruderman, the philanthropy seized the opportunity to bring to light and open a discussion on the issue of inclusion, in the broadest sense, and specifically of inclusion of people with disabilities in the social sector and society, for which the Foundation advocates.
Along with this year’s theme of inclusion, the conference program, titled, “Using all of your Resources,” included panel discussions and master classes to assist organizations effectively identify and develop their key resources as well as expose the non-profits to the opportunities available in the social sector.
“It is important to build relationships and this is a perfect opportunity to meet old friends, make new ones and create new partnerships,” said Rebecca Fuhrman, director of marketing and Communications at OneFamily Fund, an organization dedicated to helping victims of terrorism.
“We all have our own unique experiences and by sharing information we are all able to help our organizations’ members as best as possible,” added Fuhrman.
Among the issues discussed at the conference, overhead in non-profit organizations, inclusion of people with disabilities, managing employees and volunteers, fund-raising, philanthropy, and employing tactics and tools to promote the organization.