Case for Support

The funding base for BSF was created with an initial endowment grant of $60 million equally from the United States and Israel.  This was increased in 1984 by $40 million to bring the total endowment to $100 million that is held by the Government of Israel.

For quite some time now the BSF distributed about $15 million annually in grants, with the money coming from the interest on its endowment. This relatively large sum compared with the size of the endowment is based on the fact that the interest endowment is mostly tied to the local inflation in Israel that has risen much more than the U.S. dollar against the Israeli Shekel.

However, this endowment has remained static since 1984 negatively impacting the BSF’s capacity to make grants effectively reducing the number, size and financial impact of its grants.

The Israeli government recognizes the critical importance and implications for Israeli science and technology from the ongoing scientific collaboration between Israel and the U.S.  Consequently, in early 2010, the Israeli Government made a commitment to increase the BSF endowment by $15 million if the U.S. government were to match this amount.  When it became apparent that the U.S. government would be unable to make the match due to the economy and politics, the Israeli Government offered to provide the BSF with an additional $2 million per year for scientific cooperation with the U.S for the years 2012 – 2016.  However, since this is a binational program, the Israeli government conditioned its support on equal support from the United States. However, with the current state of affairs in the U.S., the 2012 budget of the U.S government has been finalized without this matching sum.

Recognizing this great dilemma and being open to having individuals in the private sector help meet the need in 2012, the Israeli Government has extended its offer to have the matching gift come from the private sector to meet the Israeli Government’s condition – namely through philanthropy.  This opportunity will only be available for 2012 as we are hopeful that the U.S. Government will be in a position in 2013 to act positively on meeting the Israel Government’s matching grant condition.

At the same time, the nation’s Council on Higher Education (VATAT) took similar action to meet the pressing need for additional scientific funding. They approved qualified support for the BSF of $1,000,000 for 2012 again conditional on the BSF securing a match in the United States.