Our Story

In the fall of 2002, a group of young professionals came together in New York City to imagine a new approach to Jewish philanthropy: a thoughtful, engaging experience of strategic philanthropy, where they could use both their minds and their money to support new ideas and transform the Jewish world and Israel. They wanted to give together, in a community of like-minded peers, brought together by their generosity and their commitment to Jewish philanthropy. They wanted control over where their money was going and transparency about how it was being used by those who received it. And they wanted to have real impact - to support new ideas with the potential to make systemic change.

With initial support from a small group of established Jewish foundations, led by the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, the founders of Natan pooled their charitable resources, decided on a few core focus areas, and sent out their first public Request for Proposals. They named the new foundation Natan, a form of the Hebrew word “to give,” in memory of JJ Greenberg, whose Hebrew name was Natan. A Jewish philanthropic leader who embodied generosity, joy, and a passion for Jewish life, JJ was an influential figure in the planning stages of Natan, and his spirit continues to imbue Natan’s work.

Over 10 years later, nearly 200 philanthropists in their mid-20s through mid-50s have participated actively in Natan’s grantmaking process and events. Natan has allocated over $11.6 million to more than 200 innovative Jewish and Israeli social entrepreneurs and startup nonprofits around the world.

Natan is also a thought leader in the Jewish philanthropic world, serving as an authority on issues such as the need to fund Jewish innovation and social entrepreneurs, the emerging Jewish nonprofit “innovation ecosystem,” and the absolute necessity of creating new philanthropic vehicles that can reach and engage potential Jewish philanthropists.