At-Risk Youth Rewrite Their Stories – Project Overcome ensures that all Israeli teens, despite their socioeconomic background, are given the opportunity to serve in the IDF, maximize their potential, and set their course for the brightest future. Successful military service is a gateway to succeeding in Israeli society both personally and professionally and serves as a cultural melting pot. To ensure that no youth is left behind, Project Overcome helps those who have been traditionally deemed “unfit for service” to gain crucial skills that will enable them to serve in the IDF. Despite their “at-risk” status, criminal record, history, or insufficient education, all youth are given the chance to successfully integrate into the military, complete their service and build viable lives. Project Overcome addresses the needs of at-risk youth with separate tracks for women and men to prepare them for military service, train their commanders, and help them gain the life skills they need for viable futures.
Dignity – An urgent, multifaceted approach to low income soldiers and their families with assistance in covering basic needs, FIDF’s Dignity Program allows soldiers to serve their country undistracted by worries about their families and helps their family members live with dignity. The program includes Food Vouchers that can be redeemed at supermarkets, pharmacies, and other stores throughout Israel; Holiday Gift Cards distributed before Passover and Rosh Hashana to help families in need to help cover the cost of celebrating these holidays; and Special Grants for those with severe financial difficulties requiring immediate assistance.
A Building Block for Aspiring Dreams – The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is recognized as one of the world’s greatest armies, yet each year approximately 3,500 soldiers finish their service without a high school education, severely limiting their prospects for higher education and meaningful employment. In 2021, 5,000 active soldiers did not have 12 years of schooling, according to the IDF. Most soldiers come from economically challenged families or troubled homes. Some are new immigrants and others simply struggled in school and dropped out.
To address this pressing problem, working with the Ministry of Defense, FIDF developed the Formal Education Program, an innovative initiative designed to help soldiers without high school diplomas or a “Bagrut” matriculation certificate. This is required for higher education and to provide these young people the skills to develop successful professional and communal lives.
What’s the IMPACT!? Since the inception of IMPACT! over 20 years ago, more than 18,000 combat and combat support veterans have received life-changing college scholarships from FIDF. In May, Israel passed the “Absorption of Discharged Soldiers Bill,” which now entitles each IDF combat soldier funding from the government, covering 75% of a public college or state university tuition. This is a significant step in the support that FIDF has been providing with tremendous success through its IMPACT! Scholarship Program. Most importantly, this bill – coupled with the IMPACT! Program – will enable IDF’s bravest to pursue higher education. Demand for IMPACT! scholarships continues to increase. More than 5,000 veterans applied in the 2021-2022 school year – the highest number ever – and this year 4,260 students are pursuing their dreams for higher education.
Building Resilience and Renewing Spirit – Building Resilience and Renewing Spirit – Today, IDF combat soldiers stand between life and terror. Soldiers of the IDF risk their lives day and night to maintain Israel’s security. To provide crucial, effective resiliency, a combat spirit, an understanding of the burden of their responsibilities, and the belief in the righteousness of their mission, FIDF has developed a serious Rejuvenation Retreat Program for combat soldiers and their commanders. This is only the beginning. By bringing combat troops together to share, and to be guided by understanding and knowledgeable officers, the transformative experience will strengthen bonds, improve morale and mental health, and renew the motivation to excel. In 2022, 9,5239 soldiers have participated in this program with an ambitious goal of 19,000 by years end.
Healing the Wounds – Bereaved Families Retreats – Israel recently endured a horrifying uptick in terror attacks, reminiscent of the frequent violence that tore through the country more than a decade ago. Coupled with a history marked by wars and military activity, Israelis know unimaginable pain, loss, and grief all too well. Currently, there are 9,000 bereaved parents, 4,500 widows, 19,000 orphans and 55,000 siblings of fallen Israeli soldiers. FIDF supports thousands of bereaved family members who have suffered the devastating loss of a loved one during service, offering them support as they rebuild their lives and their futures.
FIDF Launches Donor Advised Fund (DAF) – From the moment a DAF account is opened and contributions of cash, securities, or other assets are contributed to establish the fund, the donor receives an immediate tax deduction. Fast, efficient, simple, and effective! This is an innovative way to make your values count. A Donor Advised Fund is a flexible, low cost, and tax-advantageous way of supporting FIDF and your other charitable organizations. DAF funds can be invested for tax-free growth, and donors can recommend grants to virtually any IRS-qualified public charity.
Forging Ahead – FIDF is keeping the American Jewish community’s connection with Israel alive and thriving. The Judaic principles of community, caring, well-being, equity, and tzedakah (giving) are at the heart of FIDF’s programs and services. They impact all Israeli soldiers and create life-transforming opportunities to thousands who serve each year and strengthen the fabric of Israeli society. For four decades, FIDF has been a bridge between Americans and Israelis, and continues that tradition by serving as the place for everyone who loves Israel and wants the Jewish homeland to be secure and thrive.
To learn more about FIDF’s programs and FIDF’S new Donor Advised Fund as a part of your philanthropic portfolio, please email at [email protected]. or phone 646-690-7549