The social protest movement of 2011 brought Israel’s pressing challenges to the forefront, and highlighted the country’s need for a robust voluntary sector. The collective potential of this sector is heavily influenced by the executive directors of its non-profit organizations. The key question is: do they have the capacity, inspiration and team spirit needed to lead their organizations to improve Israeli society?
The JDC Institute for Leadership and Governance’s Mashma’ut Program gives these professionals the tools and information on the one hand, and the perspective and sense of mission on the other, to help them maximize their own effectiveness, and that of Israel’s voluntary sector as a whole.
The recent Mashma’ut Program, its eighth cycle, included 16 executive directors from leading NGOs. They developed a broader perspective of Israel’s needs, are manifesting greater commitment to collaboration, and are cultivating strategic connections with the Government of Israel.
The 12-month, 200-hour program, includes:
– Individual and small group consultations in management skills, staff development and board relations
– Workshops and peer learning that allow for discussion of best practices and dilemmas
– Site visits to NGOs and social entrepreneurship throughout the country
– Outdoor training events and other forms of experiential learning that cultivate a sense of collaboration among the participants
– Exposure to key infrastructure organizations of the non-profit sector
Diversityhas been a keystone of Mashma’ut programming. Participants are recruited from various age groups, religious affiliations and professional backgrounds. Joining people from different walks of life has brought richness and depth to the discussions among them.
The organizations represented in the program have a significant impact on a wide range of key social issues. For example, participants from recent programs represented organizations that focus on:
– Residential housing for children at risk in the Hadera area
– A youth movement for children with disabilities
– Prevention of domestic violence
– Advocacy for elderly in Israel’s Galilee region
– Assistance for Haredi single mothers and their children
– Education and rehabilitation of babies and children with hearing impairments
– Education among Bedouins in Israel’s Northern region, and in Israeli-Arab towns
– Foster care and therapy for abused and neglected Israeli children
The Institute’s mission is not only to provide high-level learning programs, but to ensure that networks of leaders are formed, and to foster cross-sector collaborations. To these ends, the Institute arranged a meeting between participants of Mashma’ut and our Program for Senior Civil Servants, which has led to subsequent meetings and closer cooperation between non-profits and influential figures in the government. Additionally, Mashma’ut graduates are becoming more involved in the non-profit sector as a whole, and recently established a Forum for Executive Directors of NGOs, for the purpose of networking and creating a platform for collaborations.
We plan to continue the Mashma’ut Program, and to incorporate two additional objectives: integrating learning from the business sector, and providing consultations to the lay boards of participating organizations.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds, for their support of the development and implementation of the program over the past few years.