Israel Scholarship Education Foundation

Building Israel, One Mind at a Time

aka The ISEF Foundation   |   New York, NY   |  www.iseffoundation.org

Mission

ISEF's mission: to empower extraordinary individuals of underserved backgrounds and top academic merit to reach their highest leadership potential, igniting positive change in Israeli society.

Ruling year info

1978

President

Mr. Carlos Benaim

Chair Emerita

Mrs. Nina A. Weiner

Main address

520 Eighth Avenue 4th floor

New York, NY 10018 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

International Sephardic Education Foundation

EIN

13-2909403

NTEE code info

Single Organization Support (W11)

International Student Exchange and Aid (Q22)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2019, 2018 and 2017.
Register now

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Israel, the "startup nation," is renowned for cutting-edge innovations in high-tech, security, medicine, and agriculture. Yet a major threat to Israel's economic sustainability has emerged: not from hostile neighbors, but from a serious shortage of trained brainpower.
It's a paradox: amidst Israel's stunning successes, less than half of Israeli youth graduate from high school, and even fewer get to college.
The problem is acute in the development towns far from Israel's center, where less than 10% of youth (most from immigrant families) manage to pursue higher education. This is a huge waste of potential--both for these youth and for Israel. To sustain its position in the global economy, Israel urgently needs to tap this hidden pool of intellectual capital– tens of thousands of bright young Israelis living in “the periphery."
ISEF was created in 1977 to narrow this divide, by empowering bright youth from Israel's periphery to get a higher education.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Higher Education Scholarships

The ISEF Foundation supports the studies of more than 400 deserving Israelis pursuing degrees from B.A. to Ph.D. and postdoctoral research. Most ISEF Scholars are enrolled in Israel's universities and colleges; a select group of 20 advanced scholars pursues Ph.D. and postdoctoral training at top schools in the U.S. and Europe as ISEF International Fellows.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Students

Advanced (PhD and postdoctoral) fellowships are awarded each year to a select group of 15-20 promising Israeli scholars from immigrant and disadvantaged backgrounds, with preference given to graduates of ISEF's scholarship and leadership training programs in Israel, to enable them to pursue ground-breaking research in the sciences, medical research, law, and other vital fields at top institutions (e.g., Harvard, Oxford, Columbia, Stanford, MIT).

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Academics

ISEF's astonishing rate of success with its target population - over 95% of whom stay in school and earn their degrees - is the product of its holistic on-campus support and leadership training programs. Thanks to these programs, ISEF scholars learn practical skills (e.g. public speaking and dealing effectively with deans and other authority figures), gain self-awareness and pride in their immigrant heritage, and forge close ties with other ISEF scholars. ISEF combats the alienation of studying on a campus filled with more affluent students from Israel's prosperous and largely "western" mainstream by instilling a strong sense of belonging and family-like atmosphere. ISEF students make lifelong friends in our Leadership Training programs.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Students

ISEF's 400+ scholarship winners all come from immigrant and underserved communities in Israel's periphery. A majority are the very first members of their families to pursue higher education. As such, they are ideal role models for Israel's at-risk youth, who struggle to graduate from high school with a full diploma that qualifies them for higher education.

Each week ISEF's 400 scholarship winners volunteer 2-4 hours as tutors and mentors in ISEF-sponsored education projects such as "Bridge to College." These projects impact more than 3,000 at-risk youth all over Israel. ISEF's scholarship winners help these youth to master tough subjects, prepare for exams, and act as Big Brothers and Sisters, forging close personal bonds with their pupils and encouraging them to believe in themselves and aim at a full diploma and a college education.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth
Ethnic and racial groups

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of small learning community opportunities offered to improve undergraduate student engagement

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Young adults

Related Program

Leadership Training Program

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

ISEF's 6 regional communities create "family on campus" for ISEF's 300+ undergrads, forging strong bonds of friendship and shared purpose at bi-monthly meetings w/ISEF grads who role model success.

Number of first-entry undergraduate program students who identify themselves as 'visible minorities'or 'non-white'

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Men and boys, Young adults

Related Program

Higher Education Scholarships

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

ISEF's whole purpose is supporting first-generation students from marginalized groups, so nearly all our 300+ undergrads identify as visible (Ethiopian, Druze) or 'non-white' (Mizrahi) minorities.

Number of students who receive scholarship funds and/or tuition assistance

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Young adults

Related Program

Higher Education Scholarships

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

ISEF offers one of the most generous scholarship and support packages available in Israel's higher education landscape. Scholarships cover tuition plus partial living stipends.

Number of graduates enrolled in higher learning, university, or technical/vocational training

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Young adults

Related Program

Higher Education Scholarships

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

All ISEF scholars are enrolled in degree programs at Israel's universities and colleges. 325 undergrads and 88 MA and PhD candidates, ISEF strongly encourages graduate degrees for its target group.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

ISEF seeks to narrow the persistent socio-economic gaps in israeli society, by educating and empowering the bright sons and daughters of Israel's many immigrant communities in the periphery. Education is the means to an end: to enable thousands of capable Israelis, who lack only financial capacity, to realize their untapped potential and serve as role models for their siblings, extended families, and larger communities. By creating a large cadre of highly educated, activist graduates, ISEF seeks to promote greater equity and diversity throughout Israel's economy and society, leveling the playing field in Israel's academe, industry, government, finance, the arts, the media, and the public sector.

For bright young Israelis from the periphery, it is not enough to gain admission to a degree program; the risk of failure remains very high, as they grapple with various academic and psychological barriers to success. The “Ha'aretz" newspaper reports the overall college dropout rate in Israel is around 25%. Students who hail from poorer families and/or who are the first generation to study for a degree are the most vulnerable to dropping out without earning their degree.
Yet more than 95% of ISEF Scholars stay in school and earn their degree—an extraordinary outcome!
ISEF counters the high risk of dropout through holistic, long-term investment in human capital development. ISEF closely accompanies each of its promising young Israeli students from their BA onwards, for as long as it takes to reach to their maximum point of achievement—whether a BA, an MA, a PhD, or even a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard or Stanford. Some ISEF Scholars have enjoyed ISEF's support for a decade or more.
ISEF becomes its students' second family, nurturing and developing potential as far as individual talent and tenacity allow.

ISEF's time-tested support systems and programs:
• Teach students practical leadership skills
• Develop a strong social conscience
• Provide a peer support network on campus
• Offer emergency financial aid and academic assistance as needed
• Give students tools to be role models who help other youngsters finish high school
• Offer students security, knowing ISEF will help them all the way – from a BA to a postdoc, whether in Israel or abroad – and even help them land their first career position.

ISEF's group of 48 Ph.D. scholars spend time with ISEF's 300-plus undergraduates, encouraging them to pursue advanced degrees and giving them guidance on how to manage the demands. Their mentoring achieves results: some 30% of ISEF undergrads decide to pursue Masters and Ph.D.s after graduation.

Briefly - ISEF has 44 years of experience in this field. ISEF is the oldest organization in Israel working in this area. Decades before it became "fashionable" to acknowledge that the entrenched social, economic, and educational gaps in Israeli society were threatening the young nation's cohesiveness and even its prosperity and security, ISEF was hard at work finding "diamonds in the rough" -- young people in towns from Kiryat Shemonah to Yeruham -- financing their education -- making sure they had the support they needed to get their degrees -- offering them a seamless continuum of support so each could rise as high as talent and tenacity permitted, whether that was a BA, an MA, a PhD or even a postdoc at Harvard. ISEF has the experience, the staff, and the long-standing relationships both with Israel's institutions of higher education and with Israel's leaders regardless of party, to make change happen for the offspring of new immigrants and older immigrant groups. By educating a new generation of leaders, role models, and change-makers who can then galvanize their communities and demand greater access to housing, education, quality healthcare, and a host of other important issues, ISEF is creating real change on the ground.

7,500 alumni pursuing successful careers in a wide variety of fields. Over 50,000 at-risk youth mentored and empowered to finish their high school educations through ISEF-sponsored projects. Diversification of professionals in multiple fields (academe, research, hospitals, government, private sector, the arts). Wide public attention brought to the entrenched disparities of educational opportunity within Israeli society, thanks to public media campaigns highlighting this issue. The next phase involves a new focus on training students from the periphery in STEM disciplines, to help address the acute shortage of highly trained personnel for Israel's knowledge economy. ISEF will train hundreds of new students in STEM degree programs in partnership with Israel's government, which selected ISEF to run this program based on over four decades of effective work and consistent successful outcomes, year after year.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    The Israel Scholarship Education Foundation was founded to expand access to higher education for first-generation Israeli students who hail from immigrant and marginalized communities in the periphery. ISEF serves several groups within this category: 1. Undergraduate degree students at Israeli universities and colleges 2. Graduate (MA, PhD, postdoc) students at Israeli universities and colleges 3. Teen-aged schoolchildren seeking to improve their academic performance so as to qualify for higher education admission in Israel 4. PhD and postdoctoral researchers pursuing advanced international training in their fields at top institutions (e.g., Harvard, Oxford, Columbia)

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    In past years, ISEF focused on guiding first-generation students from marginalized immigrant communities to degree completion. But graduates informed ISEF's leadership that for them, earning a degree did not suffice to guarantee career success, as often personal connections matter as much as qualifications in getting hired. ISEF's first steps into the postgraduation space included alumni-led job-hunting workshops: CV writing, practice job interviews with video feedback, etc. ISEF has recently invested in building its fledgling Alumni Organization into an active network of 5,000 professionals in every field that new graduates can tap into, including via social media. Finally, three years ago, ISEF hired a full-time career counselor to guide new and recent graduates into the workplace.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    ISEF has never been a top-down organization -- rather, ISEF's student leaders "run the show" on each campus, shaping programming that responds to the particular culture of the ISEF scholars' group on that campus and supervising integration of new ISEF students into that culture. These veteran student leaders undergo training prior to the start of the year and are guided throughout the year by experienced professional staff. It is precisely this organic, flexible structure which holds the key to ISEF's success shepherding first-generation students to graduation day and beyond. While the national office remains in charge of setting strategic goals and ensuring proper implemention on the ground, it is our beneficiaries who design and implement programming.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

Israel Scholarship Education Foundation
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Israel Scholarship Education Foundation

Board of directors
as of 7/29/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Carlos Benaim

International Flavors and Fragrances

Term: 2012 - 2017