7 months ago



LEADERSHIP (Noa Grayevsky) “Since its inception, Jewish National Fund has had tremendous success building bridges between Israel and the Diaspora communities.” Ronald S. Lauder Chairman of the Board-Emeritus, JNF Under Robinson and Lauder, Jewish National Fund has certainly come a long way since its birth when it focused on purchasing land and planting trees. “I am so proud of everything we have accomplished, but if I have to pick just a few [initatives], they are most certainly Blueprint Negev and the major breakthroughs we have made regarding water,” Lauder said. Blueprint Negev aims to bring 500,000 new residents to the desert, effectively making David Ben-Gurion’s dream of making the Negev bloom a reality. “Under Ronald Lauder, we turned Beersheba from a place that you would stop for gas on the way to Eilat to what is now the fastest growing city in Israel,” Robinson said. “People are buying property there and development is booming. We have made those kinds of changes elsewhere, turning economies around and creating new opportunities for millions of people.” Lauder is also proud of JNF’s contribution to Israel’s booming water industry. Under Lauder’s tenure, reservoirs in Israel increased from three to 250 and its recycled water skyrocketed from 5% to more than 85%. “We have placed an enormous emphasis on making sure that Israel will never have to worry about access to water and we are placing more resources than ever in new technologies to preserve, recycle and rehabilitate Israel’s water supply,” Lauder said. Part of JNF’s success, according to Robinson, is that when donors come to Israel they actually meet the very people whose lives they are working to change. “When you travel throughout Israel, the way we do it, we spend time in places like Yerucham and Kiryat Shmona and Acre and the Arava. These people are the future,” Robinson said. “The mayor of Beersheba will tell you that our donors know as much about Beersheba as the people of Beersheba do because they go there all the time,” he added. At the end of the day, though, Robinson acknowledges that Jewish National 1976 Jewish National Fund plants its 100 millionth tree! 1986 JNF builds first reservoir to address water shortages * 2004 Jewish National Fund’s Blueprint Negev campaign * 2011 JNF dedicates 9/11 Living Memorial in Jerusalem * 6

Russell F. Robinson (center) with JNF donors while visiting Ammunition Hill. Fund is successful because it’s a collaborative effort where smart, well-connected and passionate people come together to advocate for Israel. He has high praise for Lauder, who as one of the leading voices in the Jewish and business worlds, is invested in an egalitarian organization like JNF where everyone is able to have their say. “When you have Lauder’s kind of means, [he] can make the decision to do this or that. But he decided to take an active role in the organized Jewish world and be part of an organization where people may vote against you. I think that speaks volumes about his leadership,” he said. Robinson is also grateful to the lay leaders who have taken on enormous responsibility and do far more than writing a check. “The greatest achievement this organization can boast about are the lay leaders and stakeholders who have dedicated their time and resources to ensure the continued development of the land of Israel for generations to come,” Robinson said. ■ “Over the past 70 years, we have had and still have the opportunity, responsibility and right to be a partner with this nation that is still under creation.” Russell F. Robinson CEO, JNF 1998 JNF launches Lauder Water Plan to address shortage 2002 JNF awarded Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement * 2012 JNF’s Go North announced 2014 JNF unveils One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade APRIL 2018 7

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