Thursday, 28 June 2012
San Francisco: Returning to the city in which it was founded 33 years ago, the New Israel Fund (NIF) hosted its bi-annual Board of Directors meeting along with the 18th annual Guardian of Democracy dinner this week in San Francisco.
NIF was pleased to welcome Rabbi Brian Lurie as its new Board Chair. Lurie will succeed former MK Naomi Chazan. “I am taking this on as the capstone of my career because I believe that the New Israel Fund is the most important organization helping Israel realize its founding principles,” wrote Lurie in a Jerusalem Post column.
Prior to his tenure as NIF Board Chair, Lurie served for seventeen years as Executive Director of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, and was the executive Vice President of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA). He has worked in Israel and America to promote equality for Israeli Arabs and was the founding co-chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues.
The change in NIF leadership is in accordance with NIF’s by-laws, which require a new board chair every three years. Typically the organization alternates between Israeli and American leadership. At the request of the Board, Professor Chazan served one year past her usual term.
During the course of the meeting, the Board of Directors approved $1,570,500 in grants to 73 organizations working on behalf of a more democratic, equal and tolerant society. Approved grants will go towards both established and grassroots organizations working in Israel. NIF’s grant monies will help the ongoing campaign for social equality, battle religious extremism, and support and bolster Israel’s pro-democracy camp. Additional funding was set aside to bolster NIF’s emergency grant pool, which funds coalitions, protests, and other actions in response to situations developing on-the-ground.
In addition, NIF hosted its most successful annual Guardian of Democracy dinner to date. The dinner, honoring the leadership of Ms. Chazan, raised more than $400,000. Over 500 people attended the event.
“In her stalwart leadership of the New Israel Fund, Naomi has reflected all of the qualities that make Israel its best. During these past few years, she became the living symbol of our movement and our values,” said NIF CEO Daniel Sokatch. “We thank her for her tireless and brave efforts and look forward to her continued involvement.”