ISRAEL VENTURE NETWORK LAUNCHES INNOVATIVE IVN-YOZMA FUND, UJA-FEDERATION OF NY CONTRIBUTES $500,000
NEW YORK, Jan. 28 – UJA-Federation of New York announced Wednesday that it has contributed a $500,000 seed loan to Israel Venture Network (IVN)’s newly launched IVN-Yozma Fund, which will invest in social businesses that address complex social challenges in Israel.
The IVN-Yozma Fund, financed in part by the Israeli government, is dedicated to investing in and mentoring social businesses and entrepreneurs that help close critical social gaps by creating sustainable opportunities for Israel’s disadvantaged minority populations, with a focus on at-risk youth, the mentally and physically disabled, recovering addicts, ex-offenders, the chronically unemployed, the elderly, single parents, Israeli Arabs and others.
At Wednesday’s launch, IVN announced its first investment, a $250,000 loan to Call Yachol, an Israeli social business specializing in the setup of outsourced call centers that recruits adults with physical and mental disabilities and already has more than 200 employees. Founded in 2008, Call Yachol is the biggest private employer of disabled workers in the world.
“This government initiative is a significant milestone in the evolution of Israel’s social business sector,” said IVN CEO Michal Simler. “This pioneering step is in great part a result of the vision and hard work by IVN and its partners over the last three years.”
The $6.5 million IVN-Yozma will be financed by a $2.6 million grant from the Israeli Ministry of Finance and by $3.9 million in donations and commercial investment – including the UJA-Federation of New York loan – through IVN.
“UJA-Federation is excited to be investing in social change in Israel through the IVN-Yozma Fund,” said Michael Lustig, chair of UJA-Federation’s Impact Investing in Israel (i4) Committee. “We believe that supporting social businesses is one of the most promising and sustainable ways to provide opportunity and improve the lives of Israel’s disadvantaged populations.”
Speaking at the event were Shoresh Institution President and Founder Dan Ben-David; former Palm Inc. Chairman and CEO and IVN Chairman Eric Benhamou; NICE Systems Co-Founder and IVN Board Member Benny Levin; IVN CEO Michal Simler; and UJA-Federation of New York Treasurer Jeffrey M. Stern.
For more information about the IVN-Yozma fund, please contact IVN’s U.S. director, Rebecca Schumer, at Rebecca@ivnus.org.
Photo caption: (From left) UJA-Federation of New York Treasurer Jeffrey M. Stern; UJA-Federation of New York Board Member Sanford L. Antignas; and IVN New York City Advisory Board Member Ira Machowsky at Wednesday’s New York launch event at COLORS Restaurant, an American nonprofit social business that was formed to help New York restaurant workers displaced by the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center. (Photo credit: Courtesy of UJA-Federation of New York).
About UJA-Federation of New York
For nearly 100 years, UJA-Federation has inspired New Yorkers to act on their values and invest in our community for the biggest impact. Through UJA-Federation, more than 50,000 donors address issues that matter most to them, pooling their resources to care for New Yorkers of all backgrounds and Jews everywhere, to connect people to their Jewish communities, and to respond to crises close to home and around the globe. Working with nearly 100 beneficiary agencies, synagogues, and other Jewish organizations, UJA-Federation is the world’s largest local philanthropy; our reach spans from New York to Israel to more than 70 other countries around the world, touching 4.5 million people each year. For more information on how to donate or volunteer, please visit our website at www.ujafedny.org.
About Israel Venture Network (IVN)
Established in in 2001, IVN is a venture philanthropy network of high-tech entrepreneurs, business executives, venture capitalists, corporations and philanthropists from Israel and the US. IVN’s network of members, along with its team of professionals, recruits and leverages its resources, contacts and experience from the business world in the social arena to develop Israel’s social business sector. Most of IVN’s activities are focused on social businesses established to reduce social gaps, mainly in the fields of Employment & Career Advancement of Israel’s Marginalized & Disadvantaged Populations. IVN is also focused on social businesses engaged in lowering the cost of living, regional economic development, education and technology. For more information on our funds or mentorship program, please visit our website www.ivn.org.il, or contact U.S. Director, Rebecca Schumer at Rebecca@ivnus.org.
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