A first-of-its-kind academic institution focused on boosting Israel’s non-profit sector by improving its philanthropic and fund-raising capabilities is set to open its doors at the end of this month.

Aimed at addressing the needs of Israel’s struggling “third sector,” The Israel Academy of Philanthropy comes as a direct response to the global economic crisis of the past few years and, more recently, the social justice protests here last summer, say founders Jeff Kaye and Natan Golan, both veterans of the Jewish organizational world.

“As the number of NGOs in Israel continues to grow, the more the not-for-profit sector needs to compete for scarce funding opportunities both at home and abroad,” point out Kaye and Golan on the organization’s website.

“It is critical, therefore, that Israeli fundraisers equip themselves with the proper education, tools and resources in order to participate in this incredibly competitive market.”

Hoping to attract employees of non-profit organizations, municipalities and associations that engage in fund-raising both here and abroad, the academy offers a range of intensive and less intensive courses that cost NIS 4,000- 7,000 for a period of up to three months.

With courses set to take place in four different locations countrywide, registration for the first course, The Art of Philanthropy, opened last week and the first class will take place on April 29 in Jerusalem.

On the website, Kaye and Golan explain that in addition to focusing on improving fundraising techniques, the courses will teach how to cultivate relationships with organizations and foundations overseas. There will also be an emphasis on managerial practices, professionalism and ethical standards that are popular in the US and in Europe but are often missing in Israel, say the two.

“Professional fundraisers in Israeli non-profit organizations are lacking some of the important rudimentary practices of this profession,” write Kaye and Golan on the academy’s website.

“They often lack the appropriate interpretation of international philanthropic codes, without which, the Israeli fund-raiser faces insurmountable obstacles in his/her global fund-raising attempts.”

They also point out that while in the business and high-tech sectors Israel is “perceived globally as cutting-edge and bold,” in the non-profit world, despite some highly innovative and useful projects, Israeli NGOs “lack the required expertise” for fundraising.

“They fall short in their ability to fully integrate their Israeli bravado within the ever-rigid structures of global philanthropic foundations and struggle to produce the results needed by the organization they represent,” Kaye and Golan express on their website.

Both Golan and Kaye have vast experience in Jewish philanthropy and the non-profit world in Israel. Golan, who is also a lecturer and inspirational speaker, spent many years managing the Israeli operations of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the United Jewish Israel Appeal of Great Britain and other leading Jewish American foundations.

Kaye, who is originally from Scotland, was the first chief development officer for World ORT and before that held key positions in the Jewish Agency for Israel and the United Israel Appeal (UIA).

According to Kaye and Golan, The Israel Academy of Philanthropy is the first professional teaching initiative for fundraising in Israel and graduates will receive credit towards the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential diploma for initial certification or recertification.

Website for the Israel Academy of Philanthropy: http://iap.org.il/

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