Yad Hanadiv opening the cloak of anonymity

Yad Hanadiv acts in Israel on behalf of Rothschild family trusts that carry forward a 130-year tradition of philanthropy in Palestine and then Israel. ‘Hanadiv’ is the Hebrew word for ‘benefactor’, the name that was bestowed upon Baron Edmond de Rothschild, who was instrumental in supporting activities that paved the way for the establishment of the state of Israel. Baron Edmond carried out his philanthropy without seeking personal publicity, and this example is still followed.

However, given the scope of Yad Hanadiv’s activity, including construction of Israel’s Supreme Court building, establishment of the Open University, with more than 40,000 students, and annual postdoctoral fellowships abroad, complete anonymity is impossible. The public impression of Yad Hanadiv’s interests is therefore narrower than the reality. It was, for example, Yad Hanadiv that established Educational Television in Israel in the mid-1960s, the Jerusalem Music Centre (1973), and Avney Rosha – the Israel Institute for Head Teachers (2007) as well as supporting a multitude of organizations working to improve the environment and to advance civil society and the Arab community. Yad Hanadiv is currently cooperating with the National Library in building a state-of-the-art, 21st-century National Library for Israel.

In its work Yad Hanadiv has always strived to ensure excellence. The resulting knowledge and the lessons of experience – positive and negative – have value as ‘public goods’ that Yad Hanadiv’s opaqueness made it difficult to share. Accordingly, in 2010 Yad Hanadiv took what was for it the dramatic step of putting up a website to describe its activities and interests, and as a platform, not yet fully utilized, to share knowledge.

It is also worth mentioning that Yad Hanadiv, in a partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Justice, took the initiative to launch the Israeli GuideStar database, affording digital access to the annual official filings of Israeli non-profits and a platform for non-profits to make available supplemental information. This move reflected appreciation for the value of data and information to inform decision-making at all levels.

While Yad Hanadiv can be expected to remain reticent about self-promotion, in the coming years its public online presence – especially as a framework for sharing knowledge, information and experience – will undoubtedly grow.

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