Non-profits join forces to award microgrants for small-scale acts of kindness

Project offers grants from NIS 5,000 to NIS 20,000 for programs helping Israelis deal with war in little ways, like sending birthday cakes to displaced children

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter

Two non-profit institutions committed to societal change have partnered to provide grants to small-scale initiatives meant to help people in a myriad of ways to get through the Israel-Hamas war.

The project, launched by the Shaharit Institute and the US-based Fund for New Leadership, offers one-time grants, most of which top out at NIS 20,000 (just under $5,000) to provide an “immediate response to an essential need for the rehabilitation of Israeli society,” where the response is inadequate or absent, the organizations said.

Examples of projects awarded grants so far include birthday cakes for displaced children, sending volunteers to visit those in mourning during the seven-day shiva bereavement period, and helping special needs children in the Bedouin sector.

The project, known as Shachar, gives grants as small as NIS 5,000 ($1,235), but it has also given some initiatives as much as NIS 40,000 (just under $10,000).

The initiative is not meant for larger-scale projects such as advocacy initiatives or the purchase of medical or combat equipment, nor will it entertain requests for mental or emotional support. According to Eilon Schwartz, the Shaharit Institute’s director, the microgrants aren’t sufficient to effectively address those needs.

The cash grants will be transferred to private individuals (so long as they sign an engagement agreement and provide receipts) as well as to non-profit organizations that can give donors tax relief.

The project was launched in memory of Moshe Ohayon, chairman of the Shaharit Institute’s board, who was murdered by Hamas terrorists on October 7, along with his son Eliad, in their hometown of Ofakim in southern Israel.

Moshe Oyahon. (Courtesy of the family)

During the early hours of that day, some 2,500 terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea, killing some 1,400 people and seizing at least 245 hostages of all ages, as thousands of rockets rained down on Israeli cities and towns.

The vast majority of those killed and abducted were civilians.

Shaharit works to bring Israelis from diverse ethnic, religious and socio-economic groups together.

The Fund for New Leadership, founded by Alan and Kim Hartman, identifies and supports social change-makers in the US. The Hartmans provided the first $150,000 for Shachar.

Donations to the project can be made here.

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