Shuki Ehrlich – excerpts from presentation at the JFN 2014 conference


I would like to share with you three major – even dramatic – achievements in the Israeli philanthropy scene, over the last few years:

  1. Significant increase in the amount of private donations and in the number of private donors;
  2. Private donors have become more professional and willing to provide meaningful long-term commitments;
  3. Donors have become more involved in leading social change and in developing the strategy to promote it.

There are many examples of innovative social initiatives that have successfully created change and generated nation-wide impact on Israel’s society. Behind each of these examples there is a professional NGO and devoted private Israeli donors, as well as philanthropy from abroad. While the philanthropy scene in Israel has been constantly changing, Committed to Give realized that the available data about this field was not sufficient and not comprehensive enough. So we initiated, and then funded with Yad Hanadiv, the first-ever in-depth study. Our purpose was to map the field, measure the sources, scope and characteristics of Israeli philanthropy, and to create a relevant and updated data-base. The study was carried out by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, and I’m proud to present – “fresh from the oven” – the results that were published only a few days ago. Let us start with the good news: According to the Israeli Bureau of Statistics, in 2011 the total sum of donations to NGOs in Israel was NIS 16 billion, of which NIS 8 billion came from abroad and NIS 8 billions from Israelis, both private donors and corporations. Total giving in cash increased by 21% between 2009 to 2011, compared to the increase of 10% in overseas giving to NGOs in Israel. The share of private giving is NIS 4.7 billion, which is 71% of the cash contribution, compared to 84% in the US. The disappointing news is that the lion’s share of the corporate donation – NIS 2.6 billion is in-kind, while the cash contribution of corporations stands only at NIS 1 billion.

• The share of philanthropy in Israel’s GDP is 0.6%, compared to 1.7% in the US; • Individual’s giving in Israel add up to 1.2% of the disposable personal income, compared to 1.9% in US; • The share of Israeli corporations in philanthropy is 27% – much higher than in the US, where it is only 6%; • The main beneficiaries of philanthropy – both in Israel and in the US – are NGOs in the fields of welfare, research and education and religion.

But in Israel welfare NGOs receive 39% of the donations compared to 13% in the US. In the US, on the other hand, 33% of the donations are channeled to religious NGOs compared to 13% in Israel. We are pleased that the numbers are encouraging and growing, but there is still a huge gap between the Israelis who give, and those who CAN but DO NOT.