Partnership visitors came to Louisville to learn about fundraising

Partnership visitors came to Louisville to learn about fundraising

[by Shiela Steinman Wallace, Editor, and Niki King, Public Relations Specialist]

PARTNERSHIP 2GETHER TRULY WORKS BOTH WAYS. People from the Western Galilee share knowledge and cultural treasures with the U.S., like their mass casualty training for medical personnel at Western Galilee Hospital, archeological excavation experience for students in Akko, groups of performers and professionals who visit communities in the United States and more.

Our partners in Israel also turn to us to learn from our areas of expertise. In early June, Heidi Benish and Yona Fleischer visited Louisville. Benish was here to encourage people to participate in the PartnershipTrip2Gether Mission which will be going to Israel September 21-October 1, and Fleischer was here to learn more about fundraising.

Since the inception of Partnership 2Gether in 1997, Louisville has been part of the Central Region Consortium of U.S. communities partnered with the Western Galilee. Partnership has spawned many cooperative projects that connected people with common interests from the participating communities on both sides of the ocean.

In addition to the projects mentioned above, some of the projects included:

  • Israeli arts groups found new audiences in the United States.
  • Teenagers and young adults who dropped out of school and didn’t serve in the Army got a second chance when counselors from the Hafuch al Hafuch Center reached out to them on the streets of Akko and invited them to come in for a cup of coffee and a chat.
  • American artists and musicians visited Western Galilee and worked with young children in their classrooms and absorption centers.
  • Israelis worked as counselors in American summer camps and Americans helped in Israeli camp programs.
  • Through Kivunim, young adults with disabilities are encouraged to reach their full potential.
  • A new young adult tikkun olam program called “Ten,” because it has 10 participants from the U.S. and Israel committing acts of social activism around the world. Ten is also the word for “give” in Hebrew. Ten’s first project was building a school in Ethiopia.

There are many other projects as well. In fact, Fleischer’s full-time job is with Nitzan a project that assists children with learning disabilities, helping them succeed in school.

With all of these projects, Fleischer said, funding has always come from the American partners. But, in the last few years, that financial support has dwindled and the Israelis have realized that Partnership must include fundraising as well. Fleischer came here to learn more about the process from the Jewish Federation of Louisville so she begin working toward increasing funding from the Western Galilee. Traditionally, Israelis haven’t raised funds for partnership, so it would be a new endeavor for them.

“The Partnership budget is shrinking and all our programs we want to have forever. The Israelis need to understand they have to do their part and ensure these connections will secure our Jewish future,” Benish said.
“With each meeting, I’m learning something new,” she said.

She already has some ideas she’d like to implement. One that has already begun is a coffee shop that asks patrons to donate an extra cup of coffee to Hafuch al Hafuch, a coffee house and outreach center in Akko for youth’s at-risk.. They also hope to set up a membership board, similar to the Federation’s, and host a major community event with ticket sales at the end of the year.

“I hope next year we will be able to summarize it was big success,” Fleischer said. “I believe it will be.”


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