Federations Create Israel Emergency Loan Fund to Aid Small Businesses

Jewish Federations of North America announced Tuesday that they have launched the Israel Emergency Loan Fund (the Loan Fund) to inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the Israeli economy. Through the Loan Fund, which will work with existing loan platforms, this new program provides a lifeline to small businesses across Israel severely impacted by the war and without access to traditional banking credit.  


Israel is enduring a large-scale economic crisis. Businesses are struggling to survive amid unprecedented pressure. Some measures suggest 25% of all small businesses have experienced revenue declines of more than 50%, with 77% of small businesses in the north and south experiencing revenue declines of more than 50%. 


The Loan Fund aims to attract $100 million in philanthropic investment capital in partnership with Federations, foundations, and other donors, of which over half has been raised. Through credit lines with the banks, these loans can be leveraged up so that the Loan Fund and its partners will be providing hundreds of millions of dollars of essential capital to the Israeli economy at this time of need. 


"The capital that we are providing to support Israel's small businesses will play a vital role in the recovery of the economy following the events of October 2023, ensuring many small businesses owners will continue to survive and provide jobs and income," said Jeff Schoenfeld, co-chair of the Loan Fund. 


Operating at scale and across regions, sectors, and industries, the Loan Fund seeks to support the Israeli economy at a time of unprecedented need, sustaining small businesses that employ tens of thousands of people – across different sectors and different geographies. 


“Jewish Federations are playing a crucial role in supporting Israel during the current emergency and this economic support is just one strand of the help that we are giving at this time of need," said Rebecca Caspi, senior vice president of Jewish Federations. 


Tens of thousands of businesses have closed or are experiencing critical liquidity issues as a result of the war. This crisis impacts businesses across Israel and in every sector – from agriculture to high tech. Micro-, small-, and medium-sized businesses are particularly at risk given their limited access to liquid capital and the huge disruption in the normal flow of business. 


Each business represents the source of income and a lifetime of work and dreams for owners, employees, and their families.  


Jewish Federations’ have realized the need to support the Israeli economy at this vital stage. Through their broad relations across the landscape of non-governmental organizations, financial institutions, and government, the Loan Fund will deliver capital quickly and at scale, across regions, sectors, and industries.   


The Loan Fund’s philanthropic resources will be distributed across fully vetted non-bank loan platforms, each of whom provide loans to small businesses in a particular set of markets and sectors. The allocations enable the loan platforms to provide lower interest rate loans and to cover default risks to attack additional leverage from banks.  


In addition to the Loan Fund, Jewish Federations’ Israel Emergency Campaign has now surpassed $783 million and allocated close to $385 million for humanitarian needs and economic support since October 7th. 


"We want to ensure that many small businesses in Israel that have been affected by the war will still have access to much needed capital, including those on the geographical periphery and in sectors often overlooked by the traditional banking system,” said Matthew Salter, director of the Loan Fund. 


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