A Strategic Focus on the Negev
The Mack Ness Fund was established in 2005 by a significant bequest from the estate of Mack Ness, a recluse vegetable farmer from Somerset County, NJ. To fulfill Mr. Ness’ desire to help the people of Israel, the mission of the Mack Ness Fund is to nurture economic development in the Negev region of Israel, with a special focus on increasing the region’s population and promoting economic growth.
The Mack Ness Fund has awarded more than $10 million in grants to outstanding organizations with progressive leaders and entrepreneurs that support strategic and innovative projects in the Negev. To achieve collective impact in the region, grantees are selected that foster collaborative efforts with a wide range of partners, including non-profit and government agencies, cultural/arts organizations, and businesses. Many grantees utilize the Ness support to garner other funding and connections.
Why the Negev
The Negev comprises more than 60 percent of Israel’s land, but fewer than 10 percent of its citizens live there. The Ness Fund supports the Negev to expand Israel’s population beyond the city centers. This is consistent with the Israeli government’s commitment to develop of the region as a top priority.
The Mack Ness Fund is unique—it is 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.
Other Ness Philanthropic Efforts
The Ness Loan Fund of the Negev is a separate entity which is operated in partnership with The Jewish Agency for Israel and overseen by an advisory committee. This Fund makes low-interest loans to small business owners, often start-ups throughout the Negev. With additional support from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, the Ness Loan Fund has made over $17 million in small business loans to more than 334 businesses over the past eight years to further encourage economic development throughout the region. For more information, please contact Odelia Karutchi Odelia@jfedgmw.org.il