Beker Foundation gives $1 million to help start Shalem College

The New York-based Beker Foundation will give $1 million to the Shalem Center to help start the Shalem College, Israel’s first liberal arts college, according to the Center. 

The College, set to open in 2012, has been seeded with a $5 million matching grant from the Conduit Foundation. 

Here is the press release from Shalem:

Last week, the Shalem Center in Jerusalem announced a $5M dollar matching gift opportunity from the Conduit Foundation for Shalem College, Israel’s first liberal arts college. Today, the center is announcing the first match to that gift; a $1M dollar donation from the Beker Foundation, a New York based private foundation with a longstanding commitment to funding education, medicine, and community organizations. 

Harvey and Jayne Beker, trustees of the Beker Foundation, said: "We are very impressed with Shalem College’s vision and with the quality of Israeli leaders and intellectuals they have attracted to their work.  We believe this is a crucially important effort, not only because of the College’s potential to develop future leaders for Israel, but also because we believe the state of Israel will benefit tremendously from a new and invigorated model of higher education."

Yair Shamir – chairman of the Shalem Foundation board said of the gift, “We are immensely grateful to Harvey and Jayne Beker and the Beker Foundation for providing us with these critical resources at such a significant juncture in the College’s formation. This donation moves our plans for the creation of Shalem College forwards substantially and demonstrates once again the outstanding generosity and vision of the Beker Foundation, which has benefited global Jewish education enormously over the years.”

Daniel Gordis, Shalem Center senior vice president and senior fellow said, “This generous gift from the Beker Foundation, coupled with our announcement from the Conduit Foundation last week, indicates that the vision for a transformative model for higher education in Israel is garnering significant attention from the Jewish world’s most important philanthropists. We have much work to do but are deeply grateful for their endorsement of our vision and their belief in the future of a Jewish democratic state that these gifts will undoubtedly enhance.”

About the Beker Foundation 

The Beker Foundation, founded in 1984, is a private foundation with a longstanding commitment to funding education, medicine, and community organizations.  One of the Foundations goals is to support Jewish education at all levels, ultimately advancing knowledge and improving the lives of individuals and society at large.

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About Shalem College

Shalem College is an exciting and unrivaled effort, the establishment of the first liberal arts college in Israel. This exceptional college, planned to open in Fall 2012, will offer the most gifted and motivated students from all sectors of Israeli life, as well as abroad, a dramatically different kind of education to assure that the Jewish people will have leaders possessing the knowledge, skills, and character needed to bring about genuine change. While other institutions of higher education in Israel focus on narrow disciplinary study and on training students for specific careers, Shalem College aims to prepare its graduates for a lifetime of learning, service, and leadership through a rigorous liberal arts education, the only one in Israel. Through a core curriculum that all students will take, and more specialized study in majors that are tailored to the needs of Israeli society, Shalem College will develop knowledgeable and passionate leaders capable of shaping the future of Israel and the Jewish people. 

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