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Friday, April 08, 2011

Ford Foundation to stop grants to Leftist Israeli NGO's

The Ford Foundation has decided to stop funding Leftist Israeli NGO's.
The Ford Foundation, which has provided $40 million to civil society NGOs in Israel since 2003, will not resume its funding for programs in Israel once its current grant round ends in two years. The reason, the organization explains, has to do with changing priorities, not with politics.

But for struggling groups in Israel, losing the Ford Foundation’s financial backing means spending time and effort on developing alternative resources in an atmosphere of growing hostility toward civil society organizations that focus on human rights.

In recent months, the Ford Israel Fund, the foundation’s arm handling grants in Israel, began notifying grantees that funding will not be renewed after the current $20 million grant expires in 2013.

The Ford Foundation, ranked the second-largest philanthropic foundation in America, with assets of more than $10 billion, launched its program in Israel in 2003 as a partnership with the New Israel Fund, which provided the presence on the ground and administered the grants. Prior to this program, the Ford Foundation had given to a broad array of causes in Israel since the Jewish state gained its independence in 1948.


But the bottom line is clear: The partnership with NIF, which yielded $40 million for progressive NGOs in Israel, is coming to an end. “NIF has grown into a robust and capable independent foundation, and we look forward to seeing it continue to thrive,” the Ford statement concluded.

Aaron Back, director of the Ford Israel Fund, explained that the foundation’s commitments “had never been open-ended.” The new leadership of the Ford Foundation had conducted an across-the-board review of all programs and made significant changes in its priorities, he explained. The foundation’s new president, Luis A. Ubiñas, took office in 2008 after the new grant to Israel had already been approved. Both five-year funding programs were adopted during the tenure of former president Susan Berresford.


The end of the Ford Foundation grants is expected to have a significant impact on NIF. Currently, Ford Foundation grants make up roughly a third of NIF’s donor-advised giving, which reaches $14 million to 15 million a year. NIF’s core giving, however, which totals between $10 million to 15 million annually, will not be affected by the withdrawal of Ford funds.

“This was not a surprise for us,” said Daniel Sokatch, the group’s CEO. Sokatch praised Ford for what he described as the foundation’s “smart philanthropy,” which focused on NGO’s by building their capacities and ensuring their sustainability. Making sure that funds are used for growth and for stabilizing the grantees, he said, did this.
And maybe this had something to do with the Ford Foundation's decision:
“Ford Foundation has improved their grant guidelines since Durban-I, but there are still concerns with funding practices,” said Naftali Balanson, managing editor of NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based watchdog organization that has been a leading critic of not-for-profit organizations that express critical views of Israel.

In the past year, NIF and other NGOs supported by the Ford Foundation came under attack in Israel from politicians on the right and from such organizations as NGO Monitor and Im Tirtzu, which claim that groups support the delegitimization of Israel. The Israeli Knesset passed laws requiring increased transparency of NGO funding and initiated parliamentary hearings targeting these groups.
Maybe some other NIF funders will follow suit. Heh.

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At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pocket change for Soros.

At 11:30 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

It may decimate much of the Israeli Left which has no sizable domestic constituency or funding.

With the new guidelines and transparency requirement, it will be that much harder for Israel's leftist NGOs to covertly aid the war against Israel from inside the country as well abroad.

I can't say I'm shedding any real tears over their losing their sugar daddy. I'm not and this is best news we'll hear all year!

At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

they want bds...they got bds


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