Frequently Asked Questions

Even before the time of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, the Negev desert was recognized as the key to Israel’s future. In turn, the key to the Negev’s development has always been agricultural development -- Israel depends upon the Negev agriculturally to meet its food needs and economically to provide exports for foreign countries. The need for the Negev’s agriculture will continue to grow, and the region’s importance to the nation’s prosperity will increase as well.

Addressing agriculture needs in the Negev also requires confronting the issues of water scarcity, conservation and, ultimately, preservation. As new sources of water for agricultural needs are developed in the Negev, better solutions to Israel’s comprehensive water problems are provided as well.

The Negev Foundation is the only organization in the world focused specifically on meeting the challenges of protecting and securing Israel’s future primarily through agricultural solutions in the Negev desert. This bottom-up approach provides the necessary resources and jobs for the region needed to economically expand and attract permanent residents.

Another unique feature of The Negev Foundation is its blend of non-profit and for-profit partners. The foundation recognizes that in order to provide long-term solutions to develop the economic self-sufficiency of the region, for-profit programs must be realized and developed for long-term economic self-sufficiency.  The latest efforts in this area have resulted in the creation of a business center at Ramat Negev. Utilizing a business incubator unlike any other in Israel, the center will oversee the establishment of for-profit agribusinesses in the Negev.

OIAIAgriculture is Ohio’s largest industry, accounting for over $73 billion annually. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, the foundation has focused on strengthening the Negev-Ohio ties through the Ohio-Israel Agriculture Initiative (OIAI). This program, funded by the USDA, government of Ohio, the Embassy of Israel, and Ramat Negev (a regional Israeli government) has four main goals:

  • Promote agricultural cooperation between Ohio and Israel through their governments, farmers, research institutions, trade associations and private companies
  • Generate commercial exchanges and markets
  • Identify potential agribusiness opportunities for development in both regions
  • Identify and coordinate joint research and international development projects

The work of the foundation goes beyond these borders, however. We view projects that benefit the Negev as beneficial to the entire nation of Israel. Moreover, while Ohio is The Negev Foundation’s American home, we work with individuals anywhere in the nation, and also have a global focus in seeking partners for our Negev projects.

The greatest focus of the Foundation is fulfilling Ben-Gurion’s vision of developing Israel’s greatest unrealized asset, the Negev Desert. Our approach centers on being facilitators for this development. Finding the most effective projects and directing resources appropriately are the key mechanisms by which the organization strives to meet its goals. Partnering with academics, researchers, government entities, businesses, and other non-profit foundations creates a collaborative environment that utilizes the talents of diverse groups.

Going forward, the opportunities for the Negev Foundation are boundless. The possibility of future large-scale economic development of the region exists and could be delivered in the near future. Along with this, the opportunity to improve the quality of life for the people of the Negev is greater than ever thanks to recent successes in the region.

One challenge that the Foundation has consistently faced is addressing the environmental factors of desert agriculture. To meet this challenge, technology must be greatly utilized. The needs of desert agriculture are great, but they will be met with persistence and ingenuity.

One cannot underestimate the Negev’s agriculture and growing economic importance to the State of Israel. Much of Israel’s food and many of its export crops are grown there. Moreover, Israel’s current and future residents may someday call the Negev home. For these reasons and others, the future of Israel depends upon the development of the Negev.

The Negev Foundation endeavors to not only perform the altruistic work of a non-profit organization, but also to do so in the most effective manner possible. We are proud to highlight that 2009 marks the fifth consecutive year that the Foundation earned a four star rating by Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates the effectiveness of non-profits. This highest rating indicates that the Foundation is one of the most consistent and efficient non-profits in terms of utilizing every penny it receives.  Only four percent of the nearly 6,000 non-profits that Charity Navigator evaluates have received their four-star rating five years in a row; that is only 240 charities of which the Negev Foundation is a part.

The ongoing development of the Negev region is critical to the Israel’s economic self-sufficiency. The Negev Foundation is committed to contributing to that success by serving as a conduit for public and private partnerships.  As a Cleveland-based, non-profit tax-exempt foundation, we support proven scientific technological and human innovation, and promote sustainable desert development, including agricultural innovations successfully applied in Israel.

The Negev Foundation supports the interests of the Negev anticipating that economic self-sufficiency will eventually replace dependence on philanthropy. However, for research and development activities to continue, there will always be a need for individual, foundation and government grants.
Since its inception, The Negev Foundation has provided over $10 million in funding to the following institutions and programs:

  • Ramat Negev Desert AgroResearch Center for capital projects, research studies and technology transfer
  • Faculty of Agriculture at Hebrew University of Jerusalem towards combating famine through expeditious food storage planning
  • Institute for Applied Research at Ben-Gurion University for research programs and technology transfer
  • Arava research stations for research programs and technology transfer
  • “Am-Shav” Technological Applied Development Center to promote development of industry providing economic opportunities and employment in the Negev
  • Hopi/US/Israel Agriculture Initiative for the transfer of Israeli agritechnology to Arizona benefiting the Hopi Native Nation
  • Study and collaboration with ADM, Inc. for synergistic opportunities between US and Israeli integrated agricultural projects
  • Study and fact finding mission to Israel for Chiquita Brands International, Inc. and Agro Power Development, Inc. executives
  • Collaboration with Grow Tech Finance & Development Ltd. towards promotion of agribusiness
  • Brand development and certification of the Desert Sweet™ label for all Negev agricultural products grown using brackish water irrigation technology
  • Research studies and technology transfer of organic agriculture in the Negev
  • Arava Growers for the export of Desert Sweet™ brackish water irrigated produce
  • Ramat Negev Regional Council to promote agribusiness
  • Cleveland-Negev Connection to promote collaboration between the Cleveland and Ramat Negev communities
  • Negev Development Scholarship Fund. Providing financial support to students studying desert agriculture or other vocational skills in Israel and plan on living and working in the Negev