A Strategic Focus on the Negev
The Mack Ness Fund was established in 2005 though a significant bequest from the estate of Mack Ness, a farmer in Somerset County, NJ. Because Mr. Ness desired to help the people of Israel, the mission of the Ness Fund is to make strategic grants that nurture economic development in the Negev region, with a special focus on younger populations.
Grants from the Ness Fund support innovative projects from a wide range of partners, including non-profit and government agencies, cultural/arts organizations, and businesses. The Fund makes substantial yearly grants while leveraging dollars and creates key partnerships to help ensure success.
The Negev comprises more than 60 percent of Israel’s land, but fewer than 10 percent of its citizens live there. The Israeli government has made development of the Negev a top priority, identifying it as the most important Zionist goal of the 21st century. The government recently acted on this commitment by moving the operations of the several high-level army bases into the Negev, bringing enormous economic opportunities that can only be realized through the cooperation of government, for-profit, and not-for-profit entities.
A Unique and Effective Approach
The Ness Fund is unique—it’s one of the only Jewish community endowment funds focused on the Negev. In a few short years, the Fund and JCF have earned a reputation as major players in revitalizing the Negev region.
The Ness Business Loan Fund of the Negev (Keren Ness), a separate entity which is owned and operated in partnership with The Jewish Agency for Israel and overseen by an advisory committee, makes low-interest loans to small business owners throughout the Negev. With additional support from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Keren Ness has made over $17 million in loans to more than 334 businesses over the past eight years to further encourage economic development throughout the region.