Shuky Erlich GA speech


Shalom, It feels good to be in a room full of people who all share one common goal – to give back to the Israeli society, to strengthen it and make it better.My name is Shuki Ehrlich and I’m a social investor. Some would call me a philanthropist, but the title really doesn’t matter. After 30 years of focusing on the Israeli hi-tech and start-up scene, I’ve decided to share my time between mentoring start-ups and becoming an active social investor, and I can tell you that Israel is not just THE Start-Up nation in technology, we are also the cradle for social start-ups.
I am here today as the proud Chair of Committed to Give – a group of 18 private philanthropists, who are dedicated to change the culture of giving in Israel. We can look with satisfaction at the change that Israeli philanthropy has undergone in recent years. The amount of private donations has increased, strategic donors are planning ahead and willing to provide meaningful commitment. Donors have become more involved in leading social change and in developing the strategy to promote it. These are devoted private Israeli donors who belong to a growing community of Israeli philanthropists. Although we express our appreciation and gratitude to those private donors who are dedicated to creating a better Israeli society – there is still a huge gap in the numbers between those who give and those who CAN but do not. A recent Merrill Lynch wealth report estimates that more than ten thousand millionaires with available capital of at least one million dollars – live in Israel. Yet, based on our estimate – only 1,000 families give $25K or more annually.
The findings of this report were among the reasons that triggered Jewish Funders Network in Israel and Sheatufim – to embark on an ambitious initiative aiming to change the scope of private giving in Israel, through, the establishment of an active and personally involved impact group. named “Committed To Give“. In Hebrew “יכולים נותנים”. We understood that in order to change the culture of giving among wealthy Israelis, and help donors progress from incidental giving to strategic and effective giving – we must overcome both personal inhibitions and public cynicism, and “come out of the closet” to create a paradigm shift.
At Committed To Give we pursue 3 goals: To promote public awareness to the importance of Israeli private giving;  To expand the circle of private donors in Israel; To encourage effective and strategic giving. Since we are concerned about the low level of private donations in Israel in view of the country’s wealth potential – Committed to Give wishes to create a critical mass of donors and donations, to strengthen and complement the government’s share. Everyone shares the responsibility but we, the wealthy, have the opportunity and the ability to invest our money, our time, our experience and connections, and most of all – o u r s e l v e s. In other words – we wish to combine the well doing with the well being of Israel, to which we are all totally committed. Thank you.