The AMIT Children’s philanthropic organization has received a $6 million donation from the family of its late board member Ellen Koplow. The money will be used to start a new fund to be called “Ellen’s Kids.”
The money constitutes the single largest gift that AMIT has received in its 90 year history. AMIT President Debbie Isaac announced that the endowment will be dedicated to Kopolow’s memory.
The organization declares its mission to be to enable Israel’s youth to realize their potential and strengthen Israeli society by educating and nurturing children from diverse backgrounds within a framework of academic excellence, Jewish values and Zionist ideals. Founded in 1925, AMIT operates 110 schools, youth villages, surrogate family residences and other programs, constituting Israel’s only government-recognized network of religious Jewish education incorporating academic and technological studies.
According to Isaac, “Ellen’s Kids will help AMIT students in Israel who have struggled academically, so they can excel despite their incredible personal challenges and obtain their bagrut (matriculation) certificate.”
Many students attend AMIT’s schools and surrogate foster care programs due to financial and/or emotional challenges impacting families in Israel. The combination of a highly polarized socioeconomic structure, waves of newly arriving immigrants, and the Israeli-Arab conflict have resulted in many families struggling to make ends meet. Also, some students have been placed in AMIT’s foster care programs due to challenging family environments that include alcoholism, illicit drug use, and domestic abuse. One of the paths out of these difficult circumstances is obtaining the bagrut.
Each year, slightly more than half of Israeli high school students are eligible to receive the bagrut which is required for acceptance into Israeli colleges and vocational schools. Obtaining the bagrut has a strong correlation with obtaining higher paying jobs and enjoying greater levels of professional success in Israel.
Eighty-three percent of students enrolled in AMIT’s network of high schools throughout Israel consistently receive their bagrut certificate. With an over twenty percent higher bagrut pass rate than the national average, AMIT has already proven the success of its educational model. The Ellen’s Kids program will take AMIT’s success to the next level.
With more Israeli teens obtaining bagrut, more Israeli adults will have the potential to obtain higher paying jobs and the national poverty rate will decrease. “That would be the fulfillment of Ellen Koplow’s dream – to care for and empower Israeli children of today so they can be successful tomorrow, ” stated AMIT Executive Vice President Andrew Goldsmith.